AGCOR: Banning Online Casinos Could Backfire

AGCOR: Banning Online Casinos Could Backfire

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The Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) has raised concerns about a potential ban on Internet Gaming Licensees (IGLs), previously known as POGOs (Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators). PAGCOR chairman and CEO Alejandro H. Tengco argues that such a move could create more problems than it solves.

Legitimate Operators Pushed Underground

Tengco fears a ban would drive legitimate IGLs underground, making it impossible for authorities to monitor them. He believes they would simply hide and vanish, bringing their equipment and continue operating without government supervision/

This lack of oversight could lead to a rise in illegal activity, creating a bigger headache for law enforcement.

Lost Revenue and Unchecked Criminality

The ban would also result in significant lost revenue for the government. Mr. Tengco estimates a potential loss exceeding Php20 billion annually. He emphasizes that such a loss wouldn't guarantee an end to illegal operations.

Furthermore, Tengco suggests that a ban might force legitimate operators to join forces with criminal syndicates involved in scamming, hacking, and other cybercrimes. This scenario would pose a more serious threat than the current situation.

Focus on Law Enforcement, Not a Blanket Ban

While acknowledging the prerogative of lawmakers, PAGCOR urges a different approach. "However, for us, the real problem are the criminal syndicates masquerading as POGOs. It is only through intensified law enforcement and the cooperation of all sectors that we would be able to address the problem of criminality," Tengco argues. He proposes intensified law enforcement and collaboration across sectors to tackle the issue of criminality effectively.

In conclusion, PAGCOR highlights the potential downsides of a blanket ban on online casinos. The organization advocates for a more targeted approach, focusing on weeding out criminal operators while allowing legitimate businesses to operate under government supervision.