One of the countries to have taken maximum advantage of the boom in live dealer gaming in recent years is the Philippines. Players flock to play blackjack, roulette, and other casino games with beautiful dealers from the region. So many operators have sprung up in such a short space of time that PAGCOR, the gambling regulator in the Southeast Asian country, gave them a name; Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators (POGOS).
In recent weeks, authorities have conducted a series of raids on unlicensed POGOs, including some based in residential communities. This is not the first time that unlicensed, unregulated game operators have hit the headlines in the archipelago.
Authorities powerless to stop unlicensed POGOs
After Congressman JB Bernos called on PAGCOR to do more to weed out illegal gambling in the country, the regulator responded that while it was sympathetic to his plea, it was mostly powerless to do anything about the majority of illegal POGOs. PAGCOR has no police powers, and so it relies on the notoriously corrupt Philippine National Police (PNP) and the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) to take action against unlicensed live casinos and other types of POGOs.
In a related turn of events, just as the legal operations have been given the green light to restart business after the lockdown, the country’s tax authority has demanded that all legal POGOs settle their tax bills, and has stated that they may not restart operations until they have done so.
The importance of legal, regulated live casinos
The existence of illegal gambling operations across the Philippines and elsewhere re-emphasizes the importance of playing at fair, legal, and licensed live casinos. Many of these operations run rigged games with unfair odds, or are run by criminal gangs, which is why they don’t seek licenses from the regulators in the first place.
Thankfully, there are a number of world-class online casinos offering live daler games such as blackjack, roulette, baccarat, sic bo, and other table and card games. These games are typically powered by Evolution Gaming, Ezugi, Authentic Gaming, and other licensed operators with permits from reputable jurisdictions like Malta and the United Kingdom.
Live casino players can register at casinos like Mr Green, Dublinbet, and Spin Casino, all of which offer generous welcome bonuses that can be used at the live game tables. This way, illegal operations like the kind mentioned in this news story can be avoided and can be starved of the operating capital they need to survive.
Will PAGCOR gain control?
It’s entirely possible that in the coming years, PAGCOR will get a grip on the illegal gaming industry in the Philippines and will stamp out the illegal operators for good. Until then, avoid any casinos you aren’t familiar with, no matter how tempting the welcome offers, and stick with the approved live casinos listed above. You can view a full list of safe live casinos here.