The Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (Pagcor) has initiated legal proceedings against 33 offshore gambling licensees over unpaid license fees amounting to P2.02bn (£28.2m). These operators had received licenses during the previous administration but have failed to fulfill their financial obligations for over a year. This lapse is deemed a violation of Section 4.C of the Offshore Gaming Regulatory Manual.
Despite Pagcor's attempts to engage with the licensees and prompt the submission of the required regulatory fees, the operators still need to comply. Among the licensees in question, five have ceased their operations. Consequently, Pagcor has no choice but to pursue legal action, as stated by its Chairman and CEO, Alejandro Tengco.
Tengco emphasized that upholding Philippine laws and fulfilling financial responsibilities is paramount for all regulated gaming entities, including offshore gambling operators and service providers. He reiterated that legal action is a necessary course of action to enforce adherence to regulatory policies.
Unpaid Licence Fees: Pagcor's legal action targets 33 offshore gambling licensees for not paying £28.2 million in license fees.
Breaching Regulatory Manual: The operators' failure to pay license fees for over a year breaches Section 4.C of the Offshore Gaming Regulatory Manual.
Lack of Response: The licensees have not responded to Pagcor's requests for fee payment.
Legal Pursuit: The regulatory authority actively collects relevant information to initiate legal proceedings against the non-compliant operators.
New Regulatory Framework: Pagcor recently introduced a new regulatory framework for offshore gaming licensees to address illegal offshore activities. All licensees and service providers are declared probationary and must re-apply for approval by September 17, 2023, to continue operating in the country.
Illegal Operators Excluded: Operators that have operated illegally will not be considered for a new license.
Combatting Illegal Gambling: Pagcor is collaborating with other government and law enforcement agencies to establish offices within an accredited hub, impose stricter sanctions on licensees breaching the rules, and increase compliance inspection.
Online Casino Launch: In addition to its regulatory efforts, Pagcor plans to launch its online casino, Casino Filipino, in Q1 2024. This initiative is part of Pagcor's broader modernization plan to cover both online and land-based activities.
Pagcor's robust actions highlight its commitment to regulating the gambling landscape and ensuring adherence to regulatory policies. The regulatory authority aims to address unpaid fees, illegal operations, and overall compliance issues within the offshore gambling industry through legal measures and a new regulatory framework.
Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is based on the press release from the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (Pagcor). Any opinions, conclusions, or recommendations are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of Pagcor or any other mentioned parties.