CalvinAyre.com has learned that the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) is rumoured to have a plan to begin issuing online gambling licenses. According to our sources in the Philippine gambling industry, the plan is sitting on the President’s desk awaiting his signature. The only thing delaying his approval is a few minor tax issues to be ironed out.
If the rumours are true, PAGCOR will be the second online gambling regulator in the Philippines and it will put them in direct competition with The Cagayan Economic Zone Authority (CEZA). Currently, CEZA is the only online gambling regulator in all of Asia.
It should create an interesting dynamic in the country. Speaking with Bodog88 CEO Robert Gustafsson back in April, he had nothing but high praise in his dealings with CEZA saying, “We have a great relationship with the people at First Cagayan, they offer the safest environment in Asia to do business and they have fair regulations to all their operators.”
PAGCOR is popular in their own right; they both regulate and operate land-based casinos in the country. That combination of being the regulator and operator has kept the large American casino corporations from developing any brick and mortar casinos in the Philippines, they fear competing directly with those who make the rules. But those fears are unfounded; back in January we spoke with Jade Entertainment and Gaming CEO and he told CalvinAyre.com that regulations put in place by PAGCOR are fair and favourable to all operators, as they have to abide by the rules they themselves put in place.
While the American’s are choosing not to invest in the Philippines, the public European gambling companies are shutout of the Asian market but for completely different reasons. The online gambling licenses issued by PAGCOR will likely block licensees from marketing their products within the Philippines meaning they would still only be beneficial for targeting the rest of the unregulated countries in the region. The European public gaming companies will still be left pining for US regulation to save their share prices and keep stock holders happy.
For the private companies with the foresight to build their businesses in Asia, having multiple licensing options means they can choose the regulator whose regulations come closest to a free market environment.