PAGCOR introduces new regulatory framework for offshore gambling operators to address illegal activities

The Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) has announced a new regulatory framework for offshore gaming licensees. The regulator says that the framework is part of an “intensified inter-agency effort” to address illegal activities linked to offshore gaming operations in the country. Under the new rules, operators and providers who have been operating illegally will not be considered for a license.

During a Senate Committee Hearing on August 2nd, PAGCOR’s Assistant Vice President for Offshore Gaming Licensing Atty. Jessa Fernandez said that under the framework, all licensees and service providers are declared under probationary status and were directed to re-apply until September 17th, 2023.

Fernandez said: “In the present framework, all Service Providers who are accepting bets are required to apply for a license. We will also evaluate the beneficial owners of these companies so that they will be held liable in case they are found to be involved in any illegal activity.

She added: “Entities with findings of activities outside their granted license or accreditation will not be granted a license under the new framework. Likewise, licensees or service providers who shall not re-apply or were granted license within the given period shall be endorsed for cancellation.”

PAGCOR ramps up efforts to combat illegal gambling

Fernandez also said that PAGCOR has been working with other government and law enforcement agencies for the setting up of offices inside an accredited hub. The regulator also introduced reforms, now in effect, eyeing intensified inspection and verification of compliance of offshore gaming licensees and service providers.

These also call for the submission of reports to enforcement agencies for investigation and verification of findings; enhanced coordination with relevant government agencies; and stricter implementation of regulations and imposition of heavy penalties to licensees and services providers who violated existing regulations.

Apart from tackling illegal offshore activities, PAGCOR has also been targeting unlicensed land-based gambling this year. In June, the regulatory body carried out a raid against Xinchuang Network Technology after it received information about alleged criminal activity at the site. In May, it canceled a license that belonged to Sun Valley Clark, and before that CGC Technologies also had its license revoked. 

And back in June, PAGCOR reaffirmed its intention to assume a purely regulatory role, instead of operating as both a regulator and an operator, as it currently does. It also confirmed its plans to launch its first online casino, marking its entrance into the iGaming sector. The iCasino will be available to players in the first quarter of 2024, under the brand Casino Filipino.