Sen. Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III, during the joint hearings in the Senate on Tuesday, Oct. 10, grilled Pagcor representatives who disclosed that they have issued 34 “offshore gaming licenses” to allow Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators (Pogo) to operate under the authority and regulations of Pagcor.
However, they are unsure on how many of those 34 licensees have operations or electronic servers based in the Philippines.
Pagcor explained that offshore gaming licenses allow Pogos to avail of “service providers” who deliver support services such as marketing, customer service, IT support and back-office related services.
“What can it do now in the Philippines aside from hiring these people to support its online gaming businesses? What is the value of that Philippine gaming license to these entities? Why are they asking for a Philippine license for online gaming for Chinese, for servers with software outside of the Philippines? What’s the point?” Pimentel successively asked.
Pagcor claimed that the offshore gaming licenses also increases the “credibility” of Pogo gaming platforms and websites, which makes their clients “more likely to bet and play” when they see that it is licensed by a legitimate government agency.
“To those…that are located outside of the Philippines, I cannot see any sense on why the Republic of the Philippines has to get involved on gambling that has a bad reputation, and targets bettors from countries where gambling is prohibited… Are we allowing them to use our ‘reputation’ to make them legal?” Pimentel said in English and Filipino.
The lawmaker requested the committee to direct the Pagcor board of directors to attend the next committee hearings to shed light on the matter.