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CasinoLegal & Regulatory

Philippines Senator calls for separate regulator for casinos and PAGCOR

There should be a separate regulator for casinos and the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR), according to Senator Win Gatchalian.

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Gatchalian has proposed a separate regulator amid issues with the agency allowing operators potentially involved in criminal activity to continue operating in the Philippines.

He criticised the body at a Senate hearing, calling out its lack of sense of urgency regarding this matter. The Senator referred back to a December 2022 privilege speech from Senator Grace Poe in which she named two Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators (POGOs) involved in criminal activities.

Since that moment, the pair has only been fined a “minuscule” PHP 500,000 ($9,180) by PAGCOR, with the body still coordinating with police.

Such an issue is a major conflict of interest for Gatchalian, who noted: “In my view, it’s much cleaner to establish a separate gaming regulator regulating all gaming corporations including PAGCOR itself. PAGCOR should be subjected to an independent regulator because they also operate casinos.

“PAGCOR makes money out of the licensees and the service providers. On one hand, they are making money, they are making revenue, on the other hand they are regulating, meaning they’re enforcing laws against these licensees.”

He believes the body should have had a more proactive approach when looking into the involved service providers, which would have included immediately coordinating with the police and launching its own investigation.

“We are talking about kidnapping cases here, we are talking about human trafficking cases here,” added Gatchalian. “We cannot let these types of individuals and operators operate on our shores because that’s the kind of criminal activity that they are embroiled in.”

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