Philippines Gaming Regulator Puts A Stop To Online Gaming Operations In Luzon
The Philippines has a thriving land based and online gaming industry. The Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp (Pagcor) made a decision on March 17 to shut down its land based casino industry due to the concerns over the corona virus (COVID-19).
The land based casino industry shut down does not come as a surprise as multiple locations across the world including Las Vegas have shut down their casino industry. The closure of land based casinos has boosted traffic to online casinos as players are using the forced isolation to access online casino games and play from the comfort of their homes.
POGOs in Luzon Ordered To Close
The Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators (POGOs) have received a lot of flak in recent months from the government as well as Pagcor for failing to comply with gaming regulations, pay the required taxes and ensure they run a clean and fair operation. Most of these POGOs target players in Mainland China and other Asian countries.
Pagcor announced this week that it has decided to shut down all POGOs located on the island of Luzon. The gambling watchdog claimed that the decision to shut down POGOs on the main island of Luzon was due to concerns of COVID-19. This forced shutdown is expected to continue till April 14 and could be extended further depending on government directives.
The fact that POGOs have been forced to close at a time like this is a little surprising, given the fact that this is a great time for online casino operators in the Philippines to increase their revenue and take advantage of the land based casino closure.
Pagcor chief Andrea Domingo is aware that POGO operators could be losing out significant revenue during this shutdown. However, she said that it was more important to ensure the safety of every Filipino worker and sending them to work at POGO companies and data centers increases their exposure and risk to contract the coronavirus.
POGOs In The Philippines Must Follow Rules
For now, Pagcor is only suspending operations of POGOs in Luzon. The gambling watchdog has sent out a strict message to POGOs located in other parts of the country, instructing them to carefully follow local quarantine measures and ensure they comply with them at all times and not put any of their employees at risk.
Pagcor has stated that if any maintenance or server work is to be done by POGOs, they must ask their technicians to do the same remotely!