A meeting has been set between China’s President Xi Jinping and Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte to discuss online gambling.
According to Philippines Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III the meeting is scheduled for later this month and will include discussions about online gambling sites licensed in the Philippines. Dominguez also stated that the Philippines was already addressing the issue.
Last week the China Embassy located in Manila told Philippine federal regulating authorities to better regulate online gambling sites. He specifically wants a crackdown on sites that are targeting the People’s Republic of China.
In China, all gambling is strictly outlawed except for state-run lotteries. The gambling ban has bred the casino tourism industry for many of the surrounding countries, including the Philippines.
Two specific administrative regions Hong Kong and Macau are both allowed to house casinos due to their history and laws that were grandfathered in. Macau was under Portuguese control until 1999 and Hong Kong was a colony of the British empire until 1997. Both of which have since been returned to China with governing exceptions.
Just like other countries that try to police the internet, China does not have the resources to keep its citizens from gambling online at offshore sites. Most Chinese citizens looking to gamble online can just use a VPN and access any site they wish.
In 2016 the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) started accepting applications for Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators (POGO) licenses.
POGO license holders are not allowed to offer their services to the Philippines. The licenses were originally intended to offset the P10 billion in revenue loss due to the government deciding not to renew the licensing deal with the PhilWeb Corporation.
The POGO licensing services issued by PAGCOR have been a big hit with regulators and has garnished substantial tax revenue for the Philippines. They have also created a Chinese invasion as many mainland residents are now coming to the Philippines to work in the industry.
The current situation created by the POGO licensing has caught the attention of China’s President Xi Jinping and will be further discussed at the upcoming meeting between Presidents.