February 28, 2024

The snowballing call for the government to step up its campaign against illegal online gaming has been bolstered as the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (Pagcor) warned the public against the proliferation of websites used in such illegal scheme.

Pagcor, in its recent advisory, also called on the public to quickly report any suspected illegal online gaming activities and websites through its Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators (POGO) hotline 0927-809-8610.

The advisory came after several quarters raised the ill-effects of unregulated online gaming resulting to different crimes such as human trafficking, abduction, kidnap-for-ransom, theft,  robbery,  physical injuries,  swindling, and grave coercion, among other crimes.

Unregulated online gambling also results in losses in government’s coffers, as only the operators benefit from any generated revenue.

Earlier, law enforcement agencies in Southeast Asia also collaborated to crack down on cross-border gambling fraud.

In the Philippines, Pagcor reported its official logo is being used by operators of illegal online gaming without permission to mislead the public that their activities are connected with licensed offshore gaming in the country.

Pagcor Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Alejandro H. Tengco said he is strongly advising the public to exercise caution when accessing such online gaming websites “because they may pose risks to your personal and financial information”.

He added they have endorsed the results of investigation and monitoring of dubious websites to the Philippine National Police as well as to the Department of Information and Communication Technology and the National Bureau of Investigation for proper action.

“So far, we have been able to shut down most of these illicit websites, but some of them are able to immediately create new ones so we really need the public’s cooperation and vigilance to help us weed out these scammers,” he said.

Other steps being taken include continuing engagement with law enforcement agencies and electronic payment service providers to explore the possibility of blocking payments made to and from illegal gambling websites, which he said has been proven effective in the United States and Singapore.

Lawyer Jessa Fernandez, Pagcor Assistant Vice President for Offshore Gaming Licensing Department, said the regulatory agency is taking all necessary steps to address the issue, and called on the public to immediately report “any unauthorized use of our logo or misrepresentation of accreditation.” – Harley F. Palangchao