PAGCOR may consider allowing local Filipinos to gamble online to make up for the country’s income affected by COVID-19

An industry source said that with a large number of foreign POGOs leaving the Philippines, PAGCOR may be considering enacting regulations for local gambling to generate income 

Every year, more than half of the fees and taxes levied by the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) are turned over to the national treasury. However, in this second quarter, casinos under its supervision only generated 47 million U.S. dollars in taxes, a decrease of more than 95% compared to the same period in the previous year.

Among them, the revenue from Philippine online gaming operators (POGO) has been halved and reduced to about 6 million US dollars per month. 

REP. GUS TAMBUNTING - FYI FEB 03, 2014 (PART 3) - YouTubeAlthough experts predict that physical casinos will eventually resume their previous revenue-generating capabilities after the pandemic, however, this may not be the case for online gaming companies. During the pandemic, many POGOS were suspended or even closed, and currently only 33 have resumed operations. 

An anonymous source said that in this context, PAGCOR is looking for other opportunities to increase revenue, and PAGCOR's “income-generating” rules and procedures may be introduced soon. 

When Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte was elected in 2016, he threatened to close the country’s online gaming industry, but then changed his position and allowed PAGCOR to continue to provide licenses for online gambling companies as long as they do not develop local markets.

Despite Duterte's public opposition to the idea of allowing Filipinos to gamble online, in addition to designated e-cafes, other people in the government also stated that opening to locals is only a matter of time. 

Gus S. Tambunting, the representative of Parañaque's second district and chairman of the Gaming and Entertainment Committee, said at the ASEAN Games Summit last year that since online gambling in the country is already very common, it will eventually require regulation. 

PAGCOR has not yet responded to this matter. 

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