Duterte defends POGOs from China interference, as Philippines builds on iGaming success
The Cambodian Finance Ministry this week reported that the Kingdom has closed down online and arcade gambling operations in at least 91 casinos, mostly in Preah Sihanouk province’s Sihanoukville gambling hub. It comes as a result of pressure from China regarding what it regards as illegal gambling operations employing Chinese workers.
This has prompted many casinos to consider new opportunities in Manila, the Philippines, where President Duterte said yesterday that China has provided assurances not to meddle with the Philippines policy on offshore gaming operations.
Following Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen’s August 2019 directive, banning all online and arcade gambling in the Kingdom, a task force began inspecting all casinos operating online gambling in the Kingdom from the beginning of 2020, when the ban came into effect.
Ros Phearun, deputy director-general of the Cambodian Finance Ministry’s financial industry department, said all casinos will continue to be monitored to prevent them restarting online gambling operations.
“We believe that more casinos will cease their businesses,” he commented, but added that despite casino closures, it will not seriously impact the Kingdom’s economy and employment.
The ban and subsequent closures mean many affected businesses are already relocated to the Philippines, as Manila fast becomes the leading hub for iGaming operations in Asia.
Beijing ‘understands’ Manila’s law enforcement system, Duterte told ABS-CBN News. The Philippines has the ‘prerogative to do what you want to enforce the law,’ Duterte quoted the Chinese envoy as saying. ‘In fairness to the Chinese government, they understand,’ he added.
SiGMA Group founder and CEO, Eman Pulis, welcomed the news as a necessary shift to focus opportunities in the growing Philippines business hub for both online and land-based gambling companies.
“Many of the gaming companies in Cambodia have now relocated to Manila,” he commented. “The city is becoming the hub for iGaming in Asia and justifies our expansion east for the inaugural SiGMA Manila super show, taking place June 8th to 9th this year. It is likely that several gaming companies, not only ones from Cambodia, but also from the West, will find that the Philippines is the ideal place to set up shop in Asia and target Asian countries.”
About SiGMA Expo:
The iGaming summit SiGMA is setting its sights on Asia. Our ground breaking Asian iGaming expo will be held in Manila, on the 8th & 9th of June 2020. SiGMA’s largest venue to date will bring together high quality conferences and content, premium networking opportunities, and luxury networking event. 10,000 delegates from across Europe, the US, and Asia are expected to attend, making this one of the biggest shows to unite East and West in the region. To become a part of the fastest paced Asian iGaming event, book a pass or sponsor & exhibit.
For those planning to attend SiGMA Manila, AIBC Manila and ICE Asia at SMX on June 8-9th, this is the buzzing business environment to be expected: