Philippines reject China’s urge to ban online gambling in favour of region’s economy

Published by Daniel on September 9, 2019 in Industry News

Philippines Reject China Ban UrgeThe online gambling industry has seen a lot of change, improvement and growth in the past few years.  

So much so that many regions have hopped on board and opened their virtual doors to the online phenomenon.  

 
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While the online gambling industry is beneficial for many there are still those who want it removed from certain regions.  
 

Recently China urged that online gambling should be banned from the Philippines due to impact on Chinese people.
 

Philippine leader rejects China’s request 

In most recent news China made the call for the Philippines to ban online gambling once again. The Philippine President, Rodrigo Duterte, made a public statement saying that he was not willing to ban the business.  

Duterte made it clear that he is unwilling to ban online gambling as it will risk the country’s economy. China’s request was made due to the fact that there are more than 100,000 Chinese nationals working in the online gambling industry in the Philippines.  

Back in 2016 Duterte backed the Philippine gaming regulator’s move to license internet gambling. The president is against online gambling and referred to it as a ‘stupid activity’. However, he also stated that he would not have backed the decision to legalise online gambling if there had been more jobs available in the country.  

In his televised news conference Duterte stated that they decided to benefit the interest of their country and what it needs. He also gave out a stern warning to online gambling operators saying they needs to pay fees and taxes.  
 

Philippine Companies & Chinese Citizens 

According to statistics most of the employees in the online gambling companies are Chinese citizens. These companies are known as Philippine offshore gambling operators (POGOs). Menardo Guevarra, Philippine Justice Secretary, stated back in June 2018 that 95,000 foreigners were issued work permits for Chinese speaking gambling operations. From recent data it shows that number has risen to about 138,000 in April 2019.  

It is believed that the POGOs are a massive benefit for the local economy as it draws many visitors from China. It also raises demand for property and retail spending in the region. While these companies ban the local Filipinos from playing they contribute largely to national coffers through license fees. That being said, it has already been reported that the government might lose up to $617m a year in taxes. According to the finance department the loss in taxes is mainly due to the misreporting of income taxes of foreign workers.  
 

Licensing 

The Philippine regulator has issued licenses to 60 online gambling operators since the activity became legal. However, on the 19th of August Manila banned licensing for new online gaming firms due to a call for tighter control on Chinese visitors. There are concerns that these Chinese visitors are illegal workers whose presence cause security concerns.  

It was after this move that China hoped the Philippines would ban online gambling to support the cross-border gambling crackdown.  

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China currently has a ban on all forms of gambling apart from state-run lotteries which has resulted in many Chinese gambling companies moving overseas.