Electronic gaming service providers are pushing for a crackdown on illegal operators following the arrest of 265 Chinese nationals in Las Pinas City involved in unauthorized gaming, a move lauded by the Philippine Amusement ang Gaming Corporation.
Lawyer Margarita Gutierrez, spokesperson of the Accredited Service Providers of PAGCOR, said the group has created a task force to assist police in tracking down illegally operating online gaming in the country.
PAGCOR, meanwhile, said it has intensified its efforts to go after non-registered offshore gaming operators (NOGOs) that resulted in another successful drive against illegal gambling operations just weeks after a similar facility was discovered in Makati City.
Earlier, ASPAP lauded authorities for similar arrests in Makati and Paranaque, adding that they do not “condone, abet, or tolerate any form of these illegal operations” as they are prejudicial to the interest of legitimate Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators.
Gutierrez also emphasized that the group is duly compliant with governmental requirements and certifications while faithfully following the laws and regulations governing legitimate business operation.
“We will not sit idly by while our authorities do the work to end illegal online gaming. ASPAP is forming a task force that will actively support the government’s campaign against illegals,” Gutierrez added.
Among others, she said the task force will coordinate with law enforcers and concerned agencies to provide information that can help bring down illegal gaming operations.
“With our extensive network, we could prove to be an effective partner to stomp out illegal online gaming activities,” she said.
The government has allowed limited operation of POGO, subject to strict protocols, amid the enhanced community quarantine to generate much-needed revenues for its COVID-19 response programs.
ASPAP expressed gratitude for such decision as they vowed to comply with the parameters set by Malacanang, PAGCOR, and the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF).
The group likewise welcomed moves in Congress to fine-tune regulations, including tax policies, to strengthen the interdependence of all sectors to bring change for the better.
“ASPAP remains committed to support the country’s roadmap towards economic recovery from the crippling effects of the coronavirus pandemic and beyond,” Gutierrez said.
According to PAGCOR AVP for Offshore Gaming Licensing Department Jose Tria, Jr., it becomes easy for them to trace illegal offshore gaming operators since only several POGO sites will be given the greenlight to partially resume operations “subject to strict conditions”.
“These NOGOs are unaware that POGOs which will resume operations will undergo thorough evaluation and inspection from PAGCOR. So we know which specific sites will be allowed to resume operations. Consequently, NOGOs right now are easily identifiable since not all POGO sites will resume operations,” Tria said.
Apart from implementing rules to effectively regulate POGO operations in the country, PAGCOR has been working closely with the Philippine National Police, the National Bureau of Investigation, Bureau of Immigration and the Office of Cybercrime under the Department of Justice to curb illegal gambling operations.
The agencies formed a 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.
In the discharge of its vital functions in the Task Force, PAGCOR validates licenses, provides business, tax and other information on record to help arrest and penalize illegal gambling operators in the country.