PAGCOR Takes Legal Action Against Offshore Gambling Operators for Unpaid Fees

The Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) has made a momentous announcement, stating its intention to initiate legal action against 33 offshore gaming businesses. These firms have been accused of failing to meet their financial responsibilities and owe a total of P2.02 billion (about $36 million USD) in unpaid fees.

The CEO and Chair of PAGCOR, Alejandro Tengco, emphasized that this group of gaming firms comprises both current license holders and previous players in the Philippine gambling sector. Despite their departure, these firms have been marked for failing to settle their dues within the term specified, in violation of Section 4.C of the Philippines’ Offshore Gaming Regulatory Manual.

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Tengco noted that PAGCOR has not ignored these delinquencies. Over the previous year, these businesses have received reminders and cautions to meet their financial commitments. With no adequate response, the regulator’s decision to file a lawsuit is viewed as a vital step toward responsibility.

Surprisingly, PAGCOR’s decision to sue coincides with the recent publication of new guidelines for online licensees. All enterprises have been placed on “probationary status,” prompting them to reapply for licenses in order to guarantee transparency and conformity to legislation.

The regulatory agency announced that three offshore gaming businesses have been awarded bills as of May 2023. In addition, two businesses were sent to PAGCOR’s Legal Group for additional review in February 2023.

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Surprisingly, five of the companies facing legal action have suspended operations in the nation. Although several were awarded licenses by previous administrations, pandemic-related issues forced their closure. Despite this, PAGCOR is unwavering in its pursuit of justice, noting that these operators are obligated by Philippine law and must pay their debts.

Alejandro Tengco emphasized the regulatory authority’s dedication to preserving the industry’s integrity. Recognizing that the current scenario necessitates legal involvement, Tengco promised that PAGCOR is gathering relevant material to establish their claims against these operators.

Furthermore, he stressed the need of ensuring that all licensed offshore operators follow regulatory obligations. Tengco emphasized that PAGCOR will strictly enforce its regulatory standards, ensuring that fees and taxes are paid on time.

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