PAGCOR to limit licences for offshore operators to 50

By Robert Simmons
The Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) has confirmed that it is looking to impose a moratorium limiting the number of licensed Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators (POGO) to a maximum of 50, in order to avoid a potentially oversaturated operator market.

PAGCOR have confirmed that they have already issued 42 licences to offshore operators; however the number of pending licence applications has decreased from 44 to 12 and should the moratorium be imposed, only eight of those will be successful.

In an interview with the Philippines Star, Jose Tria Jr, Assistant Vice President of PAGCOR’s Offshore Gaming Licensing Department said “We need to evaluate first if the industry is already oversaturated.

“We will be able to assess the saturation of the market through the audit system. If their (POGOs’) income drops from their previous reported income, it means there are too many operators.”

However, officials have confirmed that the moratorium could be lifted at any time.

Under current provisions, prospective POGO licensees are required pay $50,000 for an online casino licence and $40,000 for a sports betting licence.

The applicant will then pay an additional $200,000 for an e-casino licence and $150,000 for a sports betting licence once the initial licences have been approved.

Referring to the potential revenue generated from licences, Tria said: “We are looking at more or less P3 billion in taxes, POGO alone. If we are able to streamline operations, (it can go as high as) P6 billion a year, in tax revenues.”

PAGCOR is required by state law to give half of its annual gross earnings to the country’s treasury department, transferring over PHP6.66bn back to state authorities as part of this arrangement in Q1 2017.

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