Philippines Blacklisted as Tourist Destination by China? A Result of Offshore Gambling Policies

The Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (Pagcor) has no means of knowing where in the world a player of a Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators (Pogo) online game placed bets.

Pagcor’s inability to identify exact whereabouts of individual gamblers was revealed at a Pogos hearing before the Senate Ways and Means Committee.

The only way the Pagcor-hired independent auditor can determine which countries utilize Pogo gambling services is by looking at the currencies in use, however Pagcor representatives said that this nevertheless is not conclusive.

“That was the manifestation, that they [third party auditor] cannot establish the exact country of origin since that is not included in the mirrored data by the Pogo licensees,” said a representative of Pagcor.

According to Pagcor, only currencies used on Pogo gambling services from the following 24 countries were specified by the third-party auditor : Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Euro (as a currency, Pagcor did not specify which country), United Kingdom, Hong Kong, Hungary, Indonesia, India, Japan, Korea, Myanmar, Norway, Poland, Russia, Sweden, Singapore, Thailand, Turkey, Taiwan, the United States, Vietnam, and South Africa.

The Chinese yuan accounted for 47 percent of all currencies utilized, making it the most often used currency, with USD coming in second. Nevertheless, Pagcor stresses that the currency does not always establish the nation of origin, as users have the option to play in any money they like regardless of where they are.

“However, did Pagcor make any effort to learn [the precise country of origin]?” Senator Win Gatchalian inquired at the hearing, to which a Pagcor spokesperson responded that “for the time being, the currency is all the data that we have.”

Senator Gatchalian therefore concluded: “It’s reasonable to assume that more than half of our revenue comes from China”

Will China Blacklist Philippines as Tourist Destination?

According to diplomatic sources, China is edging closer to openly revealing that the Philippines is on its blacklist as a tourist destination because to its dissatisfaction with the current Ferdinand Marcos, Jr. government’s failure to stop its foreign gambling activities in the country.

So far, the sole word from the President on the problem has been a weak one from the Office of the Press Secretary officer in charge: “The President is closely following this, and as far as the President is concerned, the Philippine National Police is in command of this matter.”

Recent Shutting Down of Offshore Gaming

The Senate hearing comes a month after authorities in the Philippines shut down 214 illicit Chinese offshore gaming enterprises for failing to pay taxes and royalties, among other infractions. As a result, 372 Chinese laborers apprehended are in the process of being deported.

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