Philippines Online Gambling Under Attack

Published Monday, August 15, 2016 -
Philippines Online Gambling Under Attack

The online gambling industry in the Philippines is under attack with a campaign ordered by the new President of the nation Rodrigo Duterte to stop online gambling proliferation. The heat is definitely on the online gaming institutions in the Philippines with the dismantling of one firm's 13-year monopoly.  The hard line President Duterte has also denounced the Philweb’s chairman, Roberto Ongpin, as a corrupt oligarch. This is adding fuel to the crackdown that has seen the revocation of more than 100 online licences in the jurisdiction. Philweb's shares lost more than 50 percent to hit lows not seen since 2008 after Ongpin resigned last week in an effort to restore confidence in the firm.

Licensed online cafes, and casinos, offered gambling by Philweb Corp but Duterte refused to renew the exclusive license of the operator of more than 300 online gaming cafes, after its permit expired recently. Andrea Domingo, head of Pagcor, said to Reuters news, "With the strong and repeated pronouncement of the president, there is no choice," Duterte is hell bent on this course commenting almost immediately after he took office, "Online gambling must stop. It has sprouted here and there. This is out of control."

Duterte's position on online gaming hosted in the Philippines for bettors from overseas remains to be clarified according to a comment by Pagcor head Domingo. Pagcor is also looking into what goes on in the Philippines' special free port zones that issue licenses to foreign online gambling operators.

The Cagayan economic zone that offshore operators are licensed in is a jurisdiction that prohibits  accepting wagers from locals. So far these operators have been allowed to stay in business. "It’s business as normal for now," Chief executive officer of Jade Entertainment and Gaming Technologies, Joe Pisano commented.

The large terrestrial casinos in the entertainment zone in the Philippines are said to be bringing in much needed tourist revenue. "We are there to bring in foreign tourists and foreign dollars," said an unidentified Manila-based casino executive.

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