Valenzuela City bans POGOs

Content Team 1 year ago
Valenzuela City bans POGOs

Valenzuela City has become the third locality in the Filipino capital of Manila to ban, foreign-facing online gambling operators, known as POGOs.

Concerns surrounding the sector across the Philippines have been circulating for quite some time now, with the numerous bans being the current answer for various communities in Manila.

Government disdain for POGOs

Valenzuela’s Mayor, Weslie Gatchalian, recently finalised the City Council passed ordinance, officially disallowing POGOs and POGO service providers from operating within city limits.

In a strong statement made subsequent to the ordinance’s approval, Mayor Gatchalian had this to say:

Our legal department needed time to analyse this because we do not want to go against national agencies, but we all know that gambling can destroy the lives of the people.

Many city council members have described POGO activities as generating and propagating “evils and social ills” throughout the Southeast Asian archipelago.

National issues derived from POGOs

Valenzuela City bans POGOs.
The Congress of the Philippines.

So severe is the worry that, the government at multiple levels in the Philippines holds the belief that the adverse impact of POGOs is so detrimental that despite its considerable economic benefit it remains simply too harmful to be allowed to continue activities.

 

According to the council:

The city government of Valenzuela genuinely believes that the adverse impact of POGOs surpass their alleged economic benefits and can potentially worsen existing social ills while posing a threat to the country’s overall economic stability.

National security concerns were also considered in the ordinance’s deliberations, as POGOs have traditionally seen a heavy reliance on a large workforce comprised of Chinese nationals.

Licensee association and even participation in criminal activity is highly suspected with numerous allegations being levelled at the operators. These include money laundering, human trafficking, prostitution, tax evasion and deviant schemes such as residents using local government food aid funds to gamble online for instance.

The national trend in the Philippines

This ban in Valenzuela is the first follower in a nationwide trend, coming in lieu of similar bans or restrictions enacted on the city’s neighbours in Quezon City, Pasig City and even Clark Freeport.

What is anomalous about Valenzuela’s ban is that POGOs is not actually all that popular in the City, instead serving a strategically symbolic purpose. This is damaging enough to the online gambling industry in the Philippines which faces ever-mounting pressure from all slides.

Among these pressures include a hostile attitude from the Filipino Senate, pressures from stakeholders in the Chinese Government along with tightening government audits and regulations, of which this ban is a key example.

SiGMA Asia

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