According to a press release from the country’s gaming authority, Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp (Pagcor), the Philippine authorities detained 265 Chinese nationals on Thursday accused of participating in an illicit offshore gaming operation in Las Pinas City, part of Metro Manila.
The regulator cited “intensified efforts” to clamp down on so-called offshore gaming operators (NOGOs) not licenced. The authorities there have closed two such operations in recent weeks, it said.
The statement quoted Jose Tria, assistant vice president of Pagcor ‘s offshore gaming licencing department, as saying that it was now easier for the Philippine authorities to monitor illicit online gaming operators as only a handful of the current Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators (POGOs) were given “the green light to partially resume operations.”
Pagcor had declared on May 1 that it had approved a “partial resumption” of operation at lawfully licenced POGOs, provided they had paid all required taxes and fees and complied with steps to restrict the spread of infection with Covid-19.
Mr Tria said the unauthorised offshore gaming operators were “unaware” that POGOs permitted to restart operations “Undergo thorough evaluation and inspection from Pagcor”. He added: “So, we know which specific sites will be allowed to resume operations. Consequently, NOGOs right now are easily identifiable since not all POGO sites will resume operations.”
In March last year, an inter-agency task force was formed to improve online monitoring and regulation of suspected offshore gaming operators. Pagcor ‘s allies on it include the Philippine National Police, the National Investigation Bureau and the Immigration Bureau, as well as the Cybercrime Bureau.