Government Official Confident Tourism Sector Will Benefit from Banning POGOs

Government Official Confident Tourism Sector Will Benefit from Banning POGOs October 21, 2022 October 21, 2022 Carolyn Dutton
 Industry October 21, 2022 by Carolyn Dutton

POGO shutdown by Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR), PhilippinesSummary

  • POGO ban will have positive impact on tourism in the Philippines
  • POGOs were creating a bad reputation for the Philippines due to their illegal activities
  • China still concerned that POGOs are targeting Chinese nationals

National Economic and Development Authority’s (NEDA) Sarah Lynne Ducanes said this week that the tourist scene in the Philippines would benefit from banning the Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators (POGOs).

Ducanes, an assistant secretary for the Policy and Planning Group at NEDA, made the comments during a hearing of the House Committee on Labor and Employment on Oct 19.

POGO Losses Outweigh the Benefits

According to Ducanes, the losses of POGOs outweigh their benefits. The official also said that the presence of such entities did not convey a positive image of the Philippines and hindered prospects for investors. Ducanes acknowledged that the responsibility for the crisis wasn’t for POGOs alone, but for their adjuncts as well. She noted that shady activities of POGO associates had put the country’s image at stake.

She believes that such publicity might actually prove to be counterproductive. The suspicious activities of the POGOs would affect the Philippines’ economic scene and the flow of domestic and foreign investments. The official displayed the preliminary estimates published by the NEDA that indicated the negative influence of POGOs on the net cost in sectors such as tourism, especially when considering the tourist footfall from China.

Ducanes also acknowledged that if the country stops POGOs from operating, there will be certain losses in office rental revenues. However, the move would construct a new, positive image of the Philippines as a holiday destination among tourists, which will increase tourism. The boost in tourism would compensate for the losses incurred after prohibiting POGOs. House Representative Joey Salceda opined that the NEDA assessment was largely speculative.

He said that only a handful of Chinese tourists visited the Philippines due to the outbound travel restrictions instated by China. The recent announcement is a link in the long series of efforts by the Philippine authorities to stop illegal iGaming activities. Previously, the country’s gaming regulator suspended the permits of 175 POGOs on September 14.

Chinese POGO Employees Left With Terminated Jobs

The crackdown on POGOs also meant that about 40,000 Chinese employees were left with canceled job permits in late September. The Chinese government claims that more POGOs continue to target Chinese consumers, prompting them to engage in unlawful activities. Despite its aversion to POGOs, China did not blacklist the Philippines as a tourist destination, as per a statement from the Chinese embassy in Manila.

Carolyn is our legislation expert, with a background in law she is able to cover the current state of gambling around the world