After identifying several illegal websites masquerading as official sites, the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation has warned players about the dangers posed by unlicensed operators.
Pagcor claims that an increasing number unlicensed sites use the Pagcor Logo without permission from the regulator to confuse players. The logo can only be displayed on sites that have been licensed by Pagcor.
Pagcor’s chairman and CEO Alejandro Tengco advises players to be cautious when gambling online. He urges them to check the list of approved websites .
Tengco revealed that Pagcor had enlisted the assistance of the Philippine National Police (PNP), the Department of Information and Communication Technology and National Bureau of Investigation in order to monitor and act against illegal sites.
Tengco stated that “we have been able shut down the majority of these illicit sites.” Some of them, however, are able create new ones immediately. To help us eliminate these scammers, we need the public to be vigilant and cooperate.
Tengco said that it continues to work with payment providers and law enforcement agencies on possible payment blockades for these websites.
Tengco added: “We’ll also continue to monitor illegal sites which haven’t been blocked or removed.” Another option is to redirect bettors onto a website which will warn them of illegal sites they are accessing.
Pagcor’s efforts to combat illegal gambling
Pagcor is not the only regulator to warn the public of unlicensed websites. The regulator had flagged a illegal site based in US back in June.
According to media reports, Starspangled200.org is being used as a link by fraudsters to an illegal gambling website operating in the Philippines.
Nearly 800,000 Maryland vehicle registration plates featured the website address to promote Maryland’s rich history. However, the URL redirects to Globeinternational.info, a site that has been used to illegally offer gambling.
Pagcor took a number of steps to combat illegal gambling over the past few months. The regulator is working with government agencies and law enforcement agencies in order to establish offices within an accredited hub.
Operators are now subject to increased inspections of compliance and must submit reports to enforcement agencies to further investigate. Pagcor has also promised to impose heavy penalties on operators who do not adhere to regulations.
The Philippines’ offshore gambling scene is changing.
Pagcor released a new regulatory framework in August for offshore gaming licensees. The new framework was implemented in July as part of the inter-agency effort to combat illegal offshore activities.
Now, licensees and providers of services are on probation. To continue to operate in the country, they must reapply for Pagcor approval before a 17 September deadline.
Operators and service providers who have operated illegally are not eligible for a license renewal.
Also last month, Pagcor said it is taking legal action against 33 offshore gambling licensees over unpaid PHP2.02bn (PS28.4m/EUR33.2m/$35.6m) in licence fees.
The regulator claims that operators who were granted licences under the previous administration haven’t paid their license fees for over a year.
Pagcor chair seized in case of missing performance bond
In this context, last week news broke that Tengco was involved in a case relating to a unpaid performance bond due in July 2022.
According to local media, Tengco as well as other Pagcor employees and current or former Pagcor staff are implicated in the disappearance of an alleged performance bond. The bond was worth PHP75m, and it was posted by a company called e-sabong.
According to reports, Joaquin Sy – the chairman and chief financial officer of Kamura Highlands Gaming and Holdings – has filed charges. Pagcor has licensed Kamura to offer remote and online betting on live cockfighting events and matches.
The ombudsman can charge you with malversation, theft qualified and falsifications of commercial and private documents.
Tengco has promised to investigate any claims regarding the missing performance bonds.