- Online casino operators may be forced to leave premises in the country’s economic zone
- Insiders believe the decision, by PEZA, in in response to recent casino-related scandals
It looks like things are about to change in the Philippines’ online casino market, as operators look set to be forced to leave their premises in the country’s economic zone.
All of the companies operate legally in the Philippines, but they will no longer be able to provide their services from buildings located in certain areas of the country.
PEZA wants operators out due to corruption
An advisory was issued by the Philippines Economic Zone Authority (PEZA), forbidding building owners from accepting new leases and renewing existing rental contacts with online casino operators. Currently, there are more than 100 online gambling operators renting spaces owned by PEZA, and they will be made to leave when their leases expire.
While online gambling is legal in the Philippines, the authority wants casino operators out of its properties because “gambling is not a mandate of PEZA”.
The notice is likely a response to last year’s investigation into Jack Lam, who had over 1,000 Chinese nationals illegally working for his network from the Fontana Hot Spring Leisure Parks & Casino. He was accused of bribing officials from Philippines Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) to encourage them to look the other way.
This isn’t the first scandal that has plagued the country’s gambling industry. Last year, $81 million that had been stolen from the Bangladesh Bank was laundered through two Philippines casinos. So, it seems that PEZA aims to distance itself from any corruption that may affect the local gambling market.
Continued growth still expected
Despite this situation, the gambling market continues to grow in the country. Last month, the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) announced that new online gambling licenses will be issued to allow more iGaming operators to offer their services in the Philippines.
So, we will continue to see more online casinos in the Philippines; it is just an issue of where they will base their operations.
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