The Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp (Pagcor) is a state gambling monopoly which controls all land-based casinos and online casinos in the Philippines. The group has exclusive rights to license and operate gambling establishments throughout the country. A recent announcement has revealed that Pagcor is putting a temporary hold on issuing new casino licenses, and intends to closely review the offerings of current license holders.
The move is being made in light of new President Benigno Aquino III’s desire to control the growth of gambling in the country. It has been suggested that Pagcor was too relaxed in the past when it came to handing out licenses.
“Pagcor is currently preparing rules of procedure and guidelines that will govern new licenses as well as current licenses,” said Pagcor spokesman Jay Santiago.
The review process will examine existing casinos and other gambling establishments, and will ask any casinos located outside of normal tourist areas to relocate. There are no rules in Philippine gambling laws that prevent locals from playing at these casinos, but because most gambling revenue comes from foreign tourists, Pagcor wants to optimize the casinos.
“We will impose the requirement that their operations should be in tourist destinations only,” Santiago said.
It is expected that the review is also going to see Pagcor officials considering the possibility of licensing online gaming centers. These would be set up like internet cafes, offering access to online gambling sites in the Philippines. Interestingly, Pagcor’s online gambling sites are only available to Filipino players, so if these so-called e-gaming halls also intend to target tourists, they will need to offer access to online gambling sites hosted in other countries around the world where foreign tourists can play.