Strict requirements from DOLE and COVID might be the reason why the number of POGOs resuming operations decreased by half
Philippine Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) has implemented strict requirements for the issuance of Alien Employment Permit especially for iGaming workers due to tax issues as well as the epidemic. Currently there are fewer than 100 Philippine offshore gaming operators (POGO) who resumed operation.
Before the COVID-19 outbreak , it was estimated that there were more than 200 POGOs across the entire country, especially in the NCR (National Capital Region). However, during the ECQ (Enhanced Community Quarantine) lockdown period, the number of operating POGOs went down to lower than 100. This is what Dominique Tutay, the Assistant Minister of Labor of the Philippines, said when asked about the reaction to the closure of POGOs.
However, Dominique also mentioned that the reason why POGOs cannot resume operations is because of the stricter requirements announced by Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR).
He mentioned that all iGaming companies need to obtain a license from PAGCOR before applying AEP for their employees. AEP is one of the necessary conditions for allowing foreign citizens to work in the Philippines.
"If you remember the decision of Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases, then you should get approval from PAGCOR first. All POGOs need to do is to obtain PAGCOR permission before applying for foreign employment permits," Dominique said.
Due to the threat of COVID-19, the Philippine government announced the suspension of all POGO operations on March 15. Until May 1, PAGOCR had opened some POGOs who hold a formal license to resume their operations with a precondition that all POGOs must comply with strict hygiene procedures.