By Chino S. Leyco
State-run Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (Pagcor) has granted two licenses for the establishment of offshore gaming hubs that will allow government regulators to easily monitor the operations of this booming gambling business.
On the sidelines of the 2019 Philippine-Asian Gaming Expo, Andrea D. Domingo, Pagcor chairman and chief executive said that two offshore gaming hubs are now in Clark, Pampanga and Kawit, Cavite, which are both owned by gaming firm Oriental Group.
Aside from better monitoring and regulations, Domingo believes these hubs for the Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators (POGO) would solve the social issue between foreign workers and the locals.
Under the POGO hub scheme, the operators should “contain” their foreign workers in single location where they can “live, work, and play.” The facility will house office spaces, dormitories, restaurants, and recreational facilities.
The POGO hubs will also have satellite offices of the Bureau of Immigration, Bureau of Internal Revenue and Pagcor.
Domingo said Pagcor has allowed the Oriental Group to transform 10-hectare and 20-hectare lots in Pampanga and Cavite into POGO hubs, respectively.
Sought for comment, Kevin Wong, Oriental Group general manager said that their hub in Clark is already operational while the company’s P8 billion facility in Cavite is set to open soon.
“With all the social tensions, we want to put everyone together,” Wong told reporters. “When all other people saying so and so with our industry, we want to remove that. We cant really isolate but at least put it in a place. Within the POGO hub everything will be there.”
Domingo also assured that accreditation process to become a POGO hub undergoes stringent regulatory review, adding the operators should also comply with all the local tax and labor law.
“It assures transparency in all transactions,” Domingo told reporters.
The gaming regulator also said that the POGO industry is “here to stay” as the business is seen to generate P20 billion in revenues for the national government.
With 59 POGO companies currently operating in the Philippines, the industry delivered P11.9 billion in regulatory fees for Pagcor.