MANILA — The Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (Pagcor) on Friday warned the public against fake and illegal online gaming sites, following reports that some victims failed to cash out their supposed winnings.
“Usually, the complaints are they cashed in, bibili sila ng credits to bet. And then once nanalo sila ng certain amount, they try to cash out the amount, but bigla na lang tatanggalin ‘yung profile nila or ‘yung account nila sa website, and then hindi na nila maka-cash out,” Pagcor Senior Manager Renfred Tan said.
The gaming regulator said some websites use PAGCOR’s logo without permission to mislead the public.
“Sa website ni PAGCOR, we have a public advisory there na kino-kopya nila ‘yung certificate na ini-issue ni PAGCOR. This was also mentioned as one of the reasons why PAGCOR had to change its logo and other collaterals," Tan said.
PAGCOR has endorsed the results of its investigation and monitoring of dubious websites to the Philippine National Police and the National Bureau of Investigation, as well as to the Department of Information and Communications Technology for proper action.
The gaming regulator said most of the fake and illegal online gaming sites reported have been shut down, but some were able to create new sites.
It called on the public to be more vigilant, report illicit gaming sites, and check first whether the online gaming site is in PAGCOR’s list of licensees.
PAGCOR is also exploring the possibility of blocking payments made to and from illegal gambling websites, and other ways to protect players.
“We are studying na kung gusto maglaro ng isang player, pupunta lang siya sa PAGCOR website, or a website designated by PAGCOR, tapos nandoon na lahat ng websites ng licensees namin. Para isang website na lang ang pupuntahan nila, and they’ll be assured na ‘yung websites na ‘yun are legal and registered with us,” Tan said.
POGO 'PROBITY' CHECK
PAGCOR has also been conducting an enhanced probity check on existing Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators (POGOs) and their service providers, in an effort to address the illegal activities, like human trafficking and unregulated gambling, which are being linked to their operations.
Tan said all POGOs and service operators in the country have been placed under “probationary status”, and will have to re-apply for a license not later than September 17. Otherwise, their existing license will be cancelled.
“Probity check is criminality check. But it’s not only criminality, it also includes financial capability. So chine-check kung sino ang members ng company o kung sino ang head ng company, chine-check ‘yung profile nila if they have previous criminal involvements… Dine-determine din doon ‘yung level of risk ng isang company for us to know if we are dealing with a low-risk or a high-risk company,” Tan explained.
PAGCOR said the assessment aims to "clean up the roster" of the current POGOs in the country.
“This was all triggered by, aside from regulations being five years old already, it’s already time naman talaga to re-evaluate ‘yung framework for offshore gaming, and also with the controversies na nag-stem, na-uncover during the Senate hearings, the PAGCOR management now instructed us to revisit yung regulations. Ang pinaka-objective talaga nito is to clean up ‘yung roster ng licensees namin na wala po doong involved in any criminality,” he said.
PAGCOR expects to issue an initial list of approved applications for license by the end of the month.