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Philippines senator pushes for banning POGOs, all forms of online gambling



Philippines senator pushes for banning POGOs, all forms of online gambling

The proposed ban, in which individuals involved in online gambling would be fined up to PHP 500,000 (US$8,536) or imprisoned for up to six months, was made in the wake of the recent Philippine Offshore Gaming Operator (POGO) raids.

In the wake of the latest raid on illegal POGOs, where human trafficking, murder and money laundering were uncovered with a senator suspended and charged for links to the illegal activities, Philippines Senator Joel Villanueva has pushed for a ban on all forms of online gambling in the Philippines. 

According to Philippines news agencies, the proposed ban will come under the Senate Bill (SB) 1281, by Villanueva, seeking to prohibit POGOs and online gambling in all forms the country.

“There should be no debate that the social costs of gambling far outweigh any benefits. We must put an end to this once and for all,” Villanueva said, as quoted in a statement.

He also pointed out that the nation’s gaming regulator, the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR), has “unfortunately failed” to ensure all online gaming operators within the country operate legally and adhere to the nation’s regulatory compliance.

“In fact, the POGOs raided in Bamban, Tarlac and Porac, Pampanga, were both ex-PAGCOR licencees found to be running scam operations,” he added.

According to the proposed bill, ‘any person involved in online gambling shall be punished by imprisonment of up to six months or a fine of up to PHP 500,000.’

Despite the arrests, PAGCOR has defended the country’s legitimate Internet Gaming Licensees (IGLs) – PAGCOR Chairman and CEO Alejandro H. Tengco stated IGLs have generated over PHP 5bn in gross revenues for the nation in 2023.

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