The crackdown on the e-bingo and e-games industry in the Philippines has turned out to be a blessing in disguise for online gambling operators who wish to operate in the country. The newly elected President of the Philippines, Rodrigo Duterte has a reputation of being a very strict lawmaker and true to his reputation; the president has started a crackdown on a number of industry.
The President has made headlines for his crackdown on drug trafficking and the execution of a number of drug traffickers. Duterte has also turned his attention to the flourishing gambling industry in the country and decided to crackdown on the e-bingo and e-games industry. His first target was Philweb Corp, a major gambling provider in the Philippines which is owned by Roberto Ongpin, who is ranked as the 9th richest man in the country with a net worth of around $1.3 billion according to Forbes.
The President asked the country’s gambling regulator, the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp (Pagcor) to not renew the exclusive license that Philweb Corp had over the e-bingo and e-games industry because the company was making significant profits by exploiting poor Filipinos. Pagcor has also been instructed to not renew the licenses of other operators who offer e-bingo and e-games in the Philippines. The crackdown on the e-gaming industry will result in a loss of $215 in gaming revenues.
The President wants Pagcor to issue online gambling licenses to operators who intend to target the overseas market and see if the lost revenue can be made up from the online gambling industry. While there is no clarity as to how many gambling licenses will be issued or the licensing fee charges, Pagcor has confirmed that the licenses process will remain transparent and licenses will be issued on a first-come, first-served basis.
In a statement, Andrea Domingo, the head of Pagcor said “We’re readying the application forms. It’s no longer the Filipinos who are betting but foreigners. We don’t know yet how saleable it is. There might be no takers, or there could be many applicants. If it is profitable then we will finetune”.
Gambling providers will have to target overseas players as the President does not want the local market to be engaged as of now. Pagcor has confirmed that the online gambling licenses will be issued with a six month validity and renewal will be based on the performance of the industry.