PAGCOR fights back amid concerns that only foreign workers are given the opportunity to work in the fast-growing industry
The Philippine iGaming industry regulator PAGCOR said that a quarter of registered online gaming company workers are Filipinos, which gave a "pretty counterattack" to lawmakers who criticised "the lucrative online gaming industry that employs only Chinese workers."
In a speech to the media on Wednesday (March 11), Ms. Andrea Domingo, the chairperson of PAGCOR, said that there are currently 30,521 Filipino employees working at iGaming companies, which provide players overseas (mainly China) online game services.
"While iGaming caters to foreign players and hires foreign customer service representatives who can effectively address their concerns, other areas (such as information technology support, live studio and game platform providers) hire local workers," she said.
"This number does not include employees in auxiliary industries such as real estate, transportation and retail." Domingo added.
PAGCOR's data shows that the latest licensed online gaming company employs a total of 120,976 workers, of which 69,613 are Chinese. Their language skills are their advantage because they are responsible for communicating with their fellow players through text chat or voice calls.
The same PAGCOR data shows that the iGaming companies in the Philippines employ 3,000 Vietnamese nationals, 2,400 Indonesians, 1,700 Taiwanese and 1200 Malaysians, and workers from 44 other countries in the world.
"As more Filipinos are able to learn and qualify for jobs offered by the industry, Filipino employment at online gaming companies will continue to rise," Domingo said.
"Now Chinese employees must take compulsory courses in the Philippines to learn the Filipino law," she said.
Domingo countered some criticism that iGaming companies have made no contribution to the economy or state finances, noting that these companies paid PAGCOR 5.7 billion pesos in 2019, the highest level since the industry became a regulated industry.
When PAGCOR first introduced the concept of the online gaming in 2016, it received 73.3 million pesos in revenue from iGaming companies. It then rose sharply to 3.1 billion pesos in 2017 and 6.1 billion pesos in 2018.
According to the agency's regulatory requirements, all iGaming companies must remit 2% of their total iGaming revenue as a regulatory fee.
Domingo said that from 2016 to 2019, PAGCOR's revenue from the online gaming industry has reached 18 billion pesos. This includes application, processing and supervision costs.
She said these revenues are higher than other fees and taxes collected by other government agencies from the online iGaming industry, including the Internal Revenue Service (BIR).
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