The Philippines has received 76 applications for its new ‘offshore’ online gambling licenses, the first of which should be issued this month.
On Monday, Andrea Domingo, CEO of the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR), told local media that 76 online gambling firms had filed applications for the new licenses, plans for which PAGCOR had originally announced in mid-September.
Business World Online quoted Domingo saying PAGCOR expected to give initial approval to the first 25 online licenses “before the end of October” and that these licenses would be valid for one year. Domingo said applicants understand that PAGCOR “might be changing the rules and regulations” prior to the expiry of the one-year licenses.
Speaking following a meeting with the House of Representatives’ Committee on Games and Amusements, Domingo noted that PAGCOR would use the first three to six months of the new licensing regime to “study” the activities of approved online gambling operators and adjust its regulatory approach accordingly.
PAGCOR made waves in September by announcing the new requirements for Philippine-based online gambling operators serving bettors in other Asian nations. The move followed a crackdown on the nation’s ‘eGames’ industry, which, unlike the international online operators, catered to a domestic user base via digital terminals in internet café-style venues. Rodrigo Duterte, the Philippines’ new president, voiced opposition to the domestic ‘online’ industry shortly after taking office this summer.
The Philippines government recently sent signals that it plans to allow some eGames operators to resume their activities, albeit on a tighter regulatory leash. The new offshore licenses – which come with six-figure annual license fees for each gaming vertical – were crafted at least partly with the intent of helping to offset the expected decline in PAGCOR revenue from the reduced scope of eGames operations.