MANILA - The number of licensed Philippine offshore gaming Operators (POGOs) rose to 60 from 58 after pending applications were approved, a Pagcor official said Friday.
This means two out of the 3 applications pending before Pagcor chair Andrea Domingo issued a moratorium on new applications were approved.
Pagcor suspended the acceptance of new applications for offshore gaming operations on Monday until concerns raised were addressed.
China earlier urged the government to ban all forms of online gaming as it welcomed the suspension of the issuance of offshore gaming licenses, its foreign ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang earlier said.
The Chinese embassy also appealed to the government to punish POGOs and casinos that illegally recruit its nationals, whom it said were victims of extortion and abuse, among others.
"We have 60 licensees, 48 are operational," Pagcor Offshore Gaming Licensing Department's Senior Manager Victor Padilla told the House of Representatives' appropriations committee.
"A lot of players are Chinese. In their culture, they really like gambling. It’s not automatic that the players are Chinese, they are all from China," he said.
Offshore gaming has resulted in cyber fraud, money laundering and other crimes, and that all forms of gambling are illegal in China, its embassy in Manila earlier said.
-- with a report from Vivienne Gulla, ABS-CBN News