Pay up now, gaming companies warned by Senator Risa Hontiveros
According to the country’s public expenditure watchdog, Commission on Audit, the Philippines gambling regulator must increase attempts to recover roughly PHP1.37 billion (US$27.3 million) from Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators (POGOs)
An annual audit report for the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp (Pagcor) shows that it has been unable to recover receivables of PHP1.38 billion. A remarkable 98.8 percent of the total is owed to POGOs. The rest of the money was owed to operators of poker, conventional, electronic, and quick bingo, as well as other electronic games.
The report stated “Considering the substantial amount of uncollected accounts receivable, the inability to collect thereof deprived the Pagcor of additional funds for its operations. Further verification revealed that the past due receivables from offshore gaming were the accounts of the POGOs with cancelled operating sites and some with approved payment restructuring that has been already endorsed to the legal department for appropriate action, among others.”
As a result of the COVID-19 epidemic, the Philippines has had a lot of problems and has only just begun to show some signs of recovery. As a result, the Philippines’ gaming sector has suffered, and the supply of money the nation has to work with has decreased. A number of casinos run by PAGCOR, the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR), have seen their incoming cash flow decline over the past year and have now revealed new challenges they are trying to overcome.
At least eight of the delinquent POGOs have had their licenses revoked, while four more are being reviewed, according to the audit agency. Additionally, three other POGOs were still in operation as of January 12, 2021, according to the Department of Homeland Security.
There were 15 POGOs that were delinquent, according to the study, but they were not named.
Sen. Risa Hontiveros asked “Why was POGO debt allowed to grow by this much? PAGCOR needs to throw its weight and go after them,” Hontiveros said in a statement written partially in Filipino.
“Their debt is in the billions and they have brought so much crime to the Philippines. POGOs, pay now and leave the Philippines.”
“If we don’t kick POGOs out, chances are these crimes will only multiply,” she warned.
Filipinos are finally emerging from this pandemic, but they’re still far from where they need to be. As a result, Duterte has softened his anti-casino position and is allowing additional casinos to open. Boracay might get two casinos in the near future, and Manila and Entertainment City will get more. In the meanwhile, it’s not apparent what PAGCOR plans to do to make up for the losses.
PAGCOR has just revealed that planned casinos in Boracay would attract ‘high-end visitors’ and create thousands of employment.
Under pressure from locals, PAGCOR argued that Andrew Tan’s Alliance Global Group Inc and Macau’s Galaxy Group would be beneficial to Boracay.
PAGCOR chair Andrea Domingo said, “If you saw the development in these two areas, you would imagine that they are really really maybe a hundred times better than the small little stalls that actually overcrowd the main island right after the beaches.”
According to Domingo, Genting Cruises passengers would make up the majority of the casino’s customers of between 2,500 and 3,000 people each week.
Before President Rodrigo Duterte banned casinos in Boracay following its rehabilitation, Newcoast Casino was getting ready to bring in gaming machines and equipment, Domingo claimed. She said that Newcoast was projected to create approximately 10,000 jobs when it opens in 2018. For its part, Galaxy invested $500 million, or around P25 billion, in Boracay to build its casino.
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