Philippines adds more hurdles for internationally-licensed operators

Philippines adds more hurdles for internationally-licensed operators

The Philippines have added another hurdle for international online gambling operators. On February 18, the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) has asked that all Philippines offshore gaming operations (POGOs) register with them first before securing a gambling license.

Philippines adds more hurdles for internationally-licensed operatorsIt’s not just asking though, they’ve also reached out to the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (PAGCOR), the licensing body for POGOs, asking them not to issue any licenses until BIR certification was granted. This applies for both new and renewed licenses.

Cheering on the move, the President’s office said this would help the country keep tabs on Chinese nationals working in the country, and ensure those persons were following all national laws. “That’s a good measure to determine exactly how many Chinese nationals who are here in violation of our laws,” said Salvador Panelo, President Rodrigo Duterte’s spokesperson.

How additional paperwork with what amounts to a tax agency can keep tabs on Chinese nationals is not made clear. It would seem that this additional requirement is much more of an additional fee system than any kind of immigration check, as the Bureau of Immigration is already looking at the matter of Chinese workers in the industry.

Don’t worry though, the BIR has already thought of that question, and asked to join the task force.

These additional requirements on POGOs seem akin to overly burdensome gun laws. Companies that are keen to operate in the black market, without a license and with illegal immigrants, are just going to go about their business anyway. Meanwhile, law abiding, licensed POGOs have more bureaucratic red tape to cut through just to offer decent hardworking Filipinos a living.

That likely won’t shed too many tears in Rodrigo Duterte’s house. The president is notoriously anti-gambling. The head of PAGCOR pleaded with him in public recently to relax his stance on gambling for the sake of the country’s future. That doesn’t look likely to happen during the Duterte administration, and every agency will come to grift honest operators down until something changes.