PAGCOR suspends POGO operations in Luzon amid COVID-19 lockdown

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 18 2020 08:11 PM | Updated as of Mar 18 2020 08:49 PM

MANILA - The Philippines' gaming regulatory body on Wednesday said it has ordered the suspension of all Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators (POGO) and all its service providers for the duration of the enhanced community quarantine in Luzon to contain the spread of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).

In its amended guidelines released Wednesday, the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) said it no longer allows skeletal workforce at POGO operating sites.

"Hence, all POGO employees are enjoined to remain in their places of residence, and no loitering or mass gatherings are allowed," it said.

POGOs are mostly run by Chinese operators with a workforce largely coming from China. 

The maintenance and upkeep of POGO data centers, software, technical devices and other information technology facilities must be done remotely, PAGCOR added.

Maintenance personnel, however, must secure permits from the concerned unit of the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) on matters that cannot be done remotely.

For POGO operations outside Luzon, PAGCOR told operators and service providers to abide with existing community quarantine measures.

PAGCOR earlier suspended all its gaming operations in Metro Manila, Casino Filipino branches in the provinces, licensed and integrated resort-casinos, electronic games, bingo (traditional and electronic), sports betting, poker and slot machine clubs and other activities regulated by the agency in compliance with the lockdown.

Luzon was placed under an enhanced community quarantine starting Tuesday which meant strict home confinement in all households, suspension of transportation lines, regulation of provision for food and essential health services, and heightened presence of uniformed personnel to enforce isolation procedures.