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PAGCOR now processing offshore gaming licenses

The Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (PAGCOR) has started the ball rolling for online gambling to shore up its revenue stream.

The regulator is now accepting applications for an offshore gaming license.

An offshore gaming license may be issued to Philippine- and offshore-based operators in any foreign country, but Philippine-based players are not allowed to gamble, the regulator noted in a statement on Wednesday.

"They shall be referred to as Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators (POGO)," PAGCOR said.

Offshore gaming licenses are a new source of revenue for PAGCOR, since it decided not to renew the licensing deal with PhilWeb Corp. The agreement with PhilWeb involves 286 e-games outlets or internet cafes exclusively dedicated to casino games.

The application and processing fees for an offshore gaming license cost $50,000 for an e-casino, and $40,000 for sports betting.

"Upon approval of the license, the applicant will pay $200,000 for an e-casino license and $150,000 for a sports betting license," PAGCOR said.

Task Force POGO

PAGCOR Chairperson Andrea Domingo said earlier the fees from new licenses could help offset an estimated P10 billion in yearly revenue loss, following the government's decision to no longer renew the operating licenses for e-bingo and e-games.

Offshore gaming is done via internet, with the registered and authorized players who have an online account with the licensed operators.

"Authorized players of these offshore gaming offerings must be foreigners based in another country. Foreign nationals who are staying in the Philippines and Filipinos residing abroad are not allowed to take part in the online gaming activity," PAGCOR said.

"Likewise, individuals who are under 21 years old are not allowed to play," it added.

To ensure all licensed operators heed such conditions, a “Task Force POGO” will be created to survey and monitoring the gaming activities.

"The monitoring task force will be composed of key personnel from PAGCOR, National Bureau of Investigation, and Bureau of Immigration," the regulator said.

An offshore gaming license is a non-transferable privilege and not a vested right, and may be "suspended or canceled at any time by the PAGCOR board of directors if the licensee commits an offense against the Philippine anti-gambling laws or violates any condition attached to the license." — Ted Cordero/VDS, GMA News