Philippines Will Stop New POGOs from Operating at Clark Freeport Zone
- Clark Development Corporation will no longer permit the operations of new POGOs at Clark Freeport Zone
- The move is aimed at combating illegal activities linked to offshore gaming operators
- POGO licensees violating the rules could have their permits cancelled
Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators (POGOs) have come under increased scrutiny over their alleged involvement in criminal activities.
As investigations continue into a human trafficking case linked to a POGO firm operating within the Clark Freeport Zone in Pampanga, authorities have now decided to cease the granting of permits to any incoming offshore gaming operators wanting to do business in the gaming and leisure center.
No New POGOs at Clark
Clark Development Corporation (CDC), the government-owned entity overseeing the Freeport Zone, made the decision in an effort to curb illegal offshore gaming activities. The move follows a meeting last week of the Clark Security Advisory Council, a new body set up to address concerns about human trafficking and other security issues.
The Council is comprised of multiple agencies, including the country’s gaming regulator, the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR).
On June 12, PAGCOR announced that the CDC will no longer approve additional POGO firms to operate within the Clark Freeport Zone, quoting a statement from CDC president and chief executive Agnes Devanadera. The CDC will stop processing new lease or sub-lease applications by POGOs, regardless if the companies are already licensed by PAGCOR.
PAGCOR Gets Tough on POGO Offenders
At the moment, Clark Freeport Zone is home to one licensed offshore gaming operator and four accredited service providers. Their operations will now be closely monitored and if they are found to commit serious violations, such as allowing other entities to operate under their licenses or accreditation, their permits could be revoked, according to PAGCOR’s announcement.
A crypto scam hub at Clark Freeport Zone that trafficked hundreds of workers from other countries had gone undetected as the company behind it had been operating using a POGO license. The illegal operation was only uncovered in May.
In the same month, PAGCOR cancelled the provisional accreditation of Sun Valley Clark, an offshore gaming hub operating at Clark Freeport Zone, for failing to ensure that its occupants are conducting activities within the law.
The move came just days after PAGCOR also cancelled the accreditation of offshore gaming customer relations service provider CGC Technologies over allegations of credit card fraud, human trafficking, and serious illegal detention. Its parent company, POGO firm Oriental Game Limited, has also been fined by PAGCOR.