PAGCOR Seeks To Extend Regulations To Online Poker Gaming

The Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) has recently expressed interest in extending regulations to include online poker and enhanced slot machines to make the Philippines the leading gaming destination in Asia. 

PAGCOR Chairman Alejandro Tengco made his intentions clear at the G2E Asia Conference held in Mecau. Tengco also stated that PAGCOR intends to upgrade its existing regulatory framework and that amendments could soon be introduced. 

PAGCOR has regulated the casino, sports, and poker gaming market since the early 1970s when the administration enacted it to oversee gambling boats. Since then, a lot has changed, but PAGCOR is still the sole operator for gambling in the most populated areas of the Philippines. 

Current Online Gambling Options In The Philippines

Gambling laws in the Philippines do not allow domestic casinos to offer their services to PH residents. However, there are legal online casinos that operate from outside of the country. While domestic gambling was legal for a short time during the pandemic, those privileges have since been revoked.

Offshore casinos offer the same games as the Manila casinos at a fraction of the price. Digital casino games can provide lower buy-ins since they employ random number generators (RNGs) instead of live dealers. While RNGs are also used at brick-and-mortar casinos online, they are more prevalent. 

POGO Licensing Explained

PAGCOR currently offers a Philippine Offshore Gaming Operator (POGO) license to domestic casino operations looking to extend their reach past the Philippines. POGO operations have faced great scrutiny in recent years, with senators, people in business, and others suggesting the programs be receded. After Chairman Tengco spoke at the G2E summit, the POGO licenses are here to stay but could be facing an upgrade. 

What New Regulations Are PAGCOR Looking To Employ?

Chairman Alejandro Tengco told the media at the G2E summit that PAGCOR wants to expand regulations to include online poker. While online casinos already operate under the POGO licensing system, online poker sites could be next to obtain a similar license. 

Chairman Tengco also stated that the regulators want to enhance existing slot machines and their regulation framework. It’s unclear how the chairman wants to improve their regulation, but it sounds like a way to ensure safety for concerned citizens over the POGO licensing system.