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Philippines: Pasig city shuts down online gambling operations

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Mayor Vico Sotto had given POGO, e-games, and e-bingo operators one year to cease operations.

The Philippines.- Pasig City mayor Vico Sotto has reportedly shut down all online gambling operations (POGOs), e-games and e-bingo operators in the city. This action came under City Ordinance 55 s. 2022, which mandated the cessation of such operations within a year.

Permits expired on December 31, 2023, but 18 establishments allegedly continued operating illegally until February. Consequently, Sotto instructed the Business Permit and Licensing Department (BPLD) to enforce the closure order with police support.

Sotto emphasized the importance of enforcing the ordinance, citing instances of addiction, suicides, and human trafficking associated with these gambling activities. 

The ordinance, approved by the Pasig City Council in December 2022, prohibits a wide range of online gambling activities, including online casinos, e-games, e-sabong, and e-bingo outlets. It also prohibits the operations of service providers supporting these activities, including POGOs, within Pasig City’s jurisdiction.

According to The Manila Bulletin, the ordinance, excludes Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) outlets such as Lotto. Councilor Simon Romulo Tantoco, chairman of the Committee on Games and Amusement, authored and sponsored the ordinance.

See also: PAGCOR posts income of US$1.41bn for 2023

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