Yesterday the chairman of the House Committee on Appropriations called for the arrest of all Non-Registered Offshore Gaming Operators in the country
Philippines authorities arrested 265 Chinese nationals allegedly operating illegal online gambling in Las Pinas City last Thursday, while the entire Metro Manila is still on Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ).
The arrest came after illegal gambling operations were also busted in Makati City and Paranaque city weeks ago.
The Philippine National Police office said that they have received a tip that there was a group of individuals gathered by a hotel in the city allegedly operating illegal online gaming. The arrest was made at 9pm following verification and confirmation with the authorities of Las Pinas City.
The authorities recovered P6,463,490 (US$127,680) in cash, 143 pieces of foreign currency bills, assorted laptop and desktop computers, mobile phones, CPUs and other computer paraphernalia allegedly used for online transactions from the suspects. 33 identification cards were also seized from the Chinese nationals.
Regulator Philippine Amusement and Gaming Operations (PAGCOR) commended the efforts of the police for arresting non-registered gaming operators, locally known as NOGOs. PAGCOR has been working closely with the Philippine National Police (PNP), National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), Bureau of Immigration (BI) and the Office of Cybercrime (OOC) under the Department of Justice (DOJ) against illegal online gambling operations.
Atty. Jose Tria, Jr, AVP for the Offshore Gaming and Licensing Department of PAGCOR said the task to track illegal online gambling operations became easier since the ECQ given that only a select number of offshore gaming operators (POGOs) were allowed to resume operations following a stringent set of guidelines sent out by the regulator.
“These NOGOs are unaware that POGOs which will resume operations will undergo thorough evaluation and inspection from PAGCOR. So we know which specific sites will be allowed to resume operations. Consequently, NOGOs right now are easily identifiable since not all POGO sites will resume operations,” Tria added.
Casinos, offshore online operations and betting stations were ordered to suspend operations last 16 March to prevent the spread of Covid-19 virus in the country. The ECQ was further extended by the President Rodrigo Duterte until 15 May while easing some restrictions for certain areas and industries which are allowed to operate after the ECQ. The resumption of operations for POGOs was debated by several country’s lawmakers with some also drafting an Anti-POGO bill.