PAGCOR's P5.1-B revenue collection from offshore gaming in 2023 lauded

By Filane Mikee Cervantes

June 11, 2024, 6:28 pm

<p><em>(File graphics)</em></p>

(File graphics)

MANILA – The chairperson of the House Ways and Means Committee on Tuesday lauded the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) for collecting PHP5.1 billion worth of revenue from offshore gaming licensees (OGLs), achieving a 71-percent increase in 2023.

In a statement, Albay Rep. Joey Salceda said the state gaming firm has "changed the landscape" by making OGLs, also known as Philippine Offshore Gaming Operator (POGO) licensees, a "controlled but contributory sector" of the economy.

He said PAGCOR has significantly improved its revenue collection efforts despite its stringent regulatory measures.

“Ever since the appointment of Chairman Al Tengco, and later on, by President and CEO Amy Eisma, PAGCOR has been modernizing its policies and practices. The licensing regulations on offshore gaming, now known as internet gaming licensees under PAGCOR’s revised rules, have significantly improved revenue collections, despite also reducing the number of total licensees. In other words, we’re choosier about who we license, and we also collect more from each licensee,” Salceda said.

Citing PAGCOR data, Salceda said the gaming licensing agency's collections in 2023 increased to PHP5.1 billion from just 87 licensees, compared to PHP2.99 billion from 158 licensees in 2022.

He said this level is only exceeded by 2019 collections, the first full year of legalized OGL operations, when PAGCOR collected some PHP7.96 billion from 298 licensees.

“As far as a supposed ‘phase-out’ is concerned, that’s the kind of phase-out I fully support: You phase out the bad and mediocre licensees. You don’t phase the whole industry out. You enforce the law," he added.

Salceda said that compared to a peak of as much as 200,000 Chinese workers directly or indirectly hired by POGOs, only about 8,500 are direct Chinese hires currently.

He said about 25,000 Filipinos are currently among the 100,000 total direct or indirect hires of OGLs.

"Of about 60,000 direct hires, 25,000 are Filipinos. Vietnamese hires, at about 11,000, now outnumber Chinese hires," he added.

Salceda also highlighted the role PAGCOR played in apprehending allegedly illegal offshore gaming operations in Bamban, Tarlac.

“No one talks about it too much, but I think it deserves to be said: It was PAGCOR who made the first move to catch the illegal operations. I just wish PAGCOR would be more media savvy about their accomplishments, because they’re one of the best performers in the government corporate sector right now. And they deal with sensitive concerns that the public should know," he said.

"PAGCOR has been enforcing rules on POGOs better, and they are turning the sector into an industry that creates more jobs for Filipinos and no longer relies exclusively on Chinese demand or labor," he added. (PNA)