But new operators are restricted from accessing the Philippines market
Having all but destroyed major online gambling companies like Philweb and Leisure and Resorts, the government of President Rodrigo Duterte appears to be trying to recoup the losses to its coffers incurred in that purge by re-starting the suspended Pagcor licensing process… but only for operators who agree not to access the Philippines market.
Pagcor chief Andrea Domingo, talking to the Reuters news agency after a budget hearing at the House of Representatives Tuesday revealed:
"We're readying the application forms. It's no longer the Filipinos who are betting but foreigners."
Domingo did not disclose how many licenses would be offered to offshore operators, but did reveal that licensing would be issued on a first come-first-served basis and would be for six months initially…and she said that Pagcor plans to charge "high fees".
However, the Pagcor chief appeared to be largely ignorant of the potential, saying: "We don't know yet how saleable it is. There might be no takers, or there could be many applicants."
She added: "If it is profitable then we will fine-tune."
Domingo said the fees collected from the new licences could help offset the loss of about 10 billion pesos ($215 million) in annual revenues following the government's decision not to renew the licenses of operating e-bingo and e-games outlets (see previous InfoPowa reports).
The government policy going forward appears to be based on an imperative to stop online gambling operators from accessing Philippines punters, and will relieve some of the fears of First Cagayan licensees that they may be next on Duterte's hit list (First Cagayan licensees are not permitted to service Filipino online gamblers, and should therefore be safe).
The most recent arrival on the licensing jurisdiction scene in the Philippines – the Aurora Pacific Economic Zone and Freeport Authority (APECO) this week hastened to reassure potential clients that it has not been affected by the Duterte government's antipathy to domestic online gambling businesses.
Chief executive, Israel F. Maducdoc revealed that APECO has issued five licenses through its master licensor — Pacific Seaboard Leisure and Entertainment Corporation – and that the operators concerned did not target Filipinos and are therefore not impacted by the Duterte-Pagcor clampdown.
"It should be stressed that online gaming licensees of APECO are geared towards foreign players as APECO licensees are prohibited from receiving bets sourced from within the Philippines, as differentiated from 'e-games' or 'Internet casino cafes' licensed by Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp (Pagcor) through Philweb Corporation which are allowed to receive bets from within the Philippines," the APECO CEO emphasised.
Online Casino News Courtesy of Infopowa