Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte is in a predicament involving Philippine offshore gaming operations. In the past, he proclaimed he hates gambling of every form. However, he went back on his words by allowing POGOs to continue operating in the country.
Chinese online casino investments bring in a lot of tax revenues. It was too big of an opportunity that Duterte ignored Beijing’s request to stop all online gambling in the Philippines. In fact, he is willing to issue more licenses to offshore gambling firms.
He previously proclaimed he hated gambling and even shut down local lottery operations for alleged corruption. However, there’s a massive expansion of the gambling industry under his administration’s watch.
Philippine President and Gambling
According to sports betting software providers, gambling revenues in the Philippines quadrupled to $4 billion during Duterte’s three years in office. The government expects to earn around $152 million in licensing fees this year.
Majority of the gambling industry expansion in the country comes from POGOs. However, it brought several problems. One problem is the growing number of Chinese nationals working illegally in POGOs. They enter the country with tourist visas and work without proper documentation.
Sportsbook pay per head software insiders estimate that around 400,000 Chinese nationals are working both legally and illegally in the country. Also, critics fear that online casino operations can lead to other illegal activities, including drug trafficking and money laundering.
Gambling news outlets reported some POGOs to give bribes to avoid regulatory restrictions. Also, some people raised national security concerns due to the high number of Chinese nationals entering the country.
Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana even warned about POGOs becoming spy operations. In fact, he was concerned about locations of some online gambling hubs near military camps and other high-level security premises.