State-run Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. on Friday welcomed the call of Rep. JB Bernos, chairperson of the House Committee on Games and Amusements, for a “stronger vetting process of Philippine offshore gaming operators,” after an illegal or non-registered offshore gaming operator in Makati was discovered by authorities on May 5, 2020.
As the country’s gaming regulator, PAGCOR denounced all forms of illegal gambling in the country – whether it is land-based or online.
“Hence, we welcome this recent move by authorities to apprehend illegal online gaming operators or what we now officially call NOGOs,” it said in a statement.
“It can be recalled that our intensified efforts to crackdown illegal online gambling can be traced way back on March 21, 2019 when Pagcor entered into a mutual cooperation agreement with the Philippine National Police, National Bureau of Investigation, Bureau of Immigration and the Office of Cybercrime under the Department of Justice,” it said.
Because of the limitations of its charter, Pagcor has no police powers. Hence, it could not arrest or prosecute illegal gambling operations. What it can do within the bounds of its charter is to regulate gaming entities, and ensure revenues from such operations will be used for the benefit of the country.
“But because of the mutual cooperation agreement, Pagcor, PNP, NBI and the DOJ’s OOC formed an inter-agency council or Task Force that will handle intelligence gathering on illegal online gambling, centralized information sharing, intelligence operations, surveillance, raids, arrest and prosecution of illegal online gaming activities,” it said.
PAGCOR gives its full cooperation to the members of the Task Force by validating licenses, providing business, tax and other information on record. It also provides financial grants to these agencies to boost their law enforcement capacities.
PAGCOR in March this year initially released P5 million (out of the P11.08 million commitment) to DOJ-OOC for the procurement of information technology equipment for DOJ’s Office of Cybercrime’s Cyber Fusion Operations Center (OpCen). The center will serve as the complaint and monitoring center of the inter-agency council against illegal online gaming, or NOGOs.