Philippine online gambling licensees won’t be capped at 50


pagcor-philippines-online-gambling-operators-licensesThe Philippines’ gaming regulator has added more names to its list of approved online gambling operators, ensuring that its previously suggested cap of 50 licensees no longer applies.

The Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) updated its official list of Philippine Offshore Gambling Operator (POGO) licensees, which the regulator began issuing in September 2016 in a bid to exert tighter control over the country’s burgeoning online gambling industry.

As of June, PAGCOR said it had issued 42 POGO licenses, but the updated list shows a total of 51 licenses issued as of October 30. PAGCOR had previously suggested that it could cap the number of available POGO licenses at 50 until it had time to assess whether newer licensees were cannibalizing older licensees’ revenue.

The latest licensees feature at least one former licensee of the First Cagayan Leisure and Resort Corp, which had been the Philippines’ primary online licensing body until the POGO program arrived. In August, First Cagayan revealed that nearly half of its licensees had defected to the POGO camp.

PAGCOR’s latest POGO update lists 51 licensees but the last license issued bears the number 17-053, while 17-051 and 17-052 don’t appear. It’s unclear whether this means these licenses were issued and then revoked, or whether the numbers were assigned in advance and vetting their applications is simply taking longer than usual.

PAGCOR recently released its year-to-date financial report card, which showed gaming revenue rising 11.1% to P42.4b (US $826m) in the nine months ending September 30, easily exceeding its revenue target of P34b, while net income rose more than one-third to P4.36b. Revenue in the third quarter was up a more modest 0.8% to P14.1b.

PAGCOR’s Q3 report lists just over P2b ($40m) in YTD revenue from its POGO program, nearly twice the P1.1b the segment reported in PAGCOR’s Q2 results. PAGCOR has previously stated that it hopes to reap an annual $120m from its POGO licensees by the time the program is fully up to speed.