Andrea Domingo, Chairwoman of the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation, took the time to provide some updates on the gambling industry of the country at the Asia Gaming Brief Pop-up on ‘Life after POGOs.’ She shared details with Sharon Singleton on the future of online gambling in the country, sharing her optimism for the upcoming year.
The first matter of business was to address what’s developing with what the media has termed PIGOs (Philippine Inshore Gaming Operators), but what Domingo prefers to call Liveshots. The new Liveshot framework will allow licensed brick and mortar operators to extend their operations online, and offer to local residents under strict conditions. Domingo offered some of them:
“For the casino based online gaming, like what we call the Liveshots, for example in Solaire, we are very, very strict that only VIP players in their player tracking system will be able to play. No minors or any banned personality will be able to play.”
She also noted that these VIP players will regularly encounter Know Your Customer (KYC) checks. Facial recognition would be required before every gaming session, and any funds won would have to be physically retrieved from the operator’s brick and mortar location.
At the moment, Solaire and City of Dreams, along with an unnamed operator out of Subic, have applied for these Liveshot licenses. Domingo also noted that DFNN has been approved as a platform provider, along with another unnamed service provider. Other casinos are able to apply for a PHP 100,000 fee, and if approved would have to pay 25% of their Gross Gaming Revenue (GGR) to PAGCOR, as well as a 5% franchise tax to the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR).
The two also discussed the current status of POGOs (Philippine Offshore Gambling Operators). Of the 61 that started 2020, 35 currently remain, although Domingo noted that new applications have come in and downplayed any shrinkage of the industry. She shared her thoughts on why the POGO exodus happened, but did not mention the effect of increased taxes:
“I guess one of them is manpower requirement, because foreign travel restrictions on people coming in and leaving. The other one is, the POGOs have been under close scrutiny.”
Cockfighting, or e-sabong as it’s known locally, was a new vertical Domingo was particularly excited about. PAGCOR is “still awaiting the approval of the office of the president,” she said, but when the industry is established, she has big plans. “Were focusing on other countries beyond ASEAN and beyond Asia,” she added, noting she hopes an online cockfighting platform could do very well in the LATAM market.
Although 2020 hasn’t been great for most parts of the gambling industry, she noted that she expects PAGCOR to hit it’s revised 2020 target of PHP34 billion pesos. If everything goes right, she’s optimistic that revenues will return to 2019 levels by Q2 of 2021.