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Philippines: Illegal POGOs – an ongoing problem

Illegal POGOs, linked to money-laundering crimes in the Philippines, would threaten the nation's aim to develop its legally regulated gaming and gambling sector. 

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As reported by various Philippines news outlets recently, there has been an increase in the fight against foreign crime syndicates, as well as illegal offshore gaming operators.

POGOs, offshore gaming operators for short, have long existed in the Philippines. Some, which are operating legally with proper licence under the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation, have contributed to the Philippines economy, as stated by PAGCOR’s Chairman and CEO Alejandro H. Tengco.

Those that are operating illegally have been the source of problems for the Philippines Government. Money laundering had been a major crime connected to said illegal operations, which have the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) placing the Philippines under the “gray list” of countries with increased monitoring for dirty money, as quoted from Philippines news agencies’ reports. Anti-Money Laundering Council Executive Director Matthew David was quoted in an earlier article saying that prosecuting these illegal entities was the “most challenging action item.”

The problems caused by illegal POGOs will seriously hamper the Philippines' ambition to become an investment hub, as well as a safe, healthy regulated environment for the development of their gaming and gambling sector, which the nation has aimed to surpass Singapore

And thus, the Philippines Government has geared up its effort, with a recent raid led by the Presidential Anti-Organized Crime Commission (PAOCC), arresting at least a hundred suspects of local and foreign origins. The case has also been the focus of Philippines representatives, proof of the Government taking the cases seriously. 

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