Gambling is deeply ingrained in Asian culture, and the Philippines supports this culture by licensing and regulating online operators as outsourcing offshore gaming firms. Although there is not much information available about the online casinos thriving in the Asia Pacific region, many are Philippine-licensed, Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators (POGO.)
Philippine POGO – Asia’s Licensed Online Gambling Operators
The Philippine government has ambiguous laws that deal with online gambling businesses and activities. Here, offshore-based online casino operators seek licensing permits from the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) as Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators (POGO.)
However, Philippine laws restrict POGO firms to offer their online gambling products and services only in other countries, presumably in neighboring Asian territories. Mainly because POGO firms fall under the country’s business process outsourcing industry. As such, they are barred from operating domestically and from granting access to locally-based Filipino customers.
Nonetheless, Filipino gamblers are allowed to participate and play in online gambling sites operated by foreign companies, licensed elsewhere. In effect, it offsets the local prohibition imposed on POGO companies, especially if a foreign brand of online casino being patronized by Filipinos, has at the same time, a business office registered as a POGO brand.
Regulations of Philippine POGO Online Casino Operators
POGO online gambling firms though, are still subject to supervision and audit as part of the conditions of registering in the country’s special economic zone, the business sector created through a 1994 Philippine legislation (Republic Act 7922).
The Act saw the establishment of a special economic zone known as the Cagayan Economic Zone. As a Freeport city in the Cagayan Valley, it serves as a self-sustaining, multi-industry hub for commercial, financial, industrial, tourism and recreational businesses. The main purpose of which is to effectively attract local and foreign investments that will bring employment opportunities in the country’s rural areas, which in turn will raise the income and productivity of rural residents.
In line with the establishment of the Cagayan Economic Zone, a government-owned corporation called the Cagayan Economic Zone Authority (CEZA). CEZA oversees and regulates the business activities of the companies enjoying the privileges and incentives offered by the freeport. The PAGCOR though, still acts as the national regulator of POGO firms.
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