The gaming regulator for the Philippines has reportedly ordered a pair of locally-licensed iGaming firms to close after detaining 140 members of their staffs who were suspected of having been kidnapped and forced to work illegally.
According to a report from Inside Asian Gaming, the move from the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCor) regulator involved enterprises headquartered in Angeles City and Pasig City with the latter firm, Crimson Tulip BPO, having additionally had its Philippine Offshore Gaming Operator (POGO) license revoked. The source explained that the crackdown was conducted in partnership with the Philippine National Police and the Department of Interior and Local Government on Saturday following the receipt of information from the Chinese embassy.
PAGCor reportedly disclosed that it had ‘rescued’ 40 foreign workers at the iGaming operation in Angeles City with these individuals having been subsequently turned over to the Bureau of Immigration so as to have their immigration status investigated. The regulator also purportedly detailed that it had similarly detained 100 people suspected of having been kidnapped and illegally forced into work in Pasig City with the overall group comprising 70 Chinese nationals as well as 16 Vietnamese, two Taiwanese and a Malaysian.
Inside Asian Gaming reported that the raids on the pair of Filipino iGaming enterprises came just a few days after the new head of PAGCor, Alejandro Tengco, revealed that his organization was to lead a collaborative campaign against criminal activities associated with the operation of online gambling websites. This drive was purportedly implemented following the arrest two weeks ago in Angeles City of 43 Chinese nationals suspected of having been illegally employed by an online gaming enterprise known as Lucky South 99 Outsourcing Incorporated.
PAGCor reportedly asserted that the supervision of the local iGaming industry by means of the POGO licensing regime had boosted the prospects of companies across a wide range of sectors including ‘real estate, food, transportation, construction and telecommunication’ but that the kidnapping issue was threatening to derail that entire industry. The Department of Interior and Local Government had purportedly already been engaged in a nationwide campaign against human trafficking and was said to have recently given the Philippine National Police and other associated agencies a two-week deadline to stamp out all illegal activities related to locally-licensed online gambling firms.
Tengco reportedly declared last week…
“If these kidnapping incidents and other illegal activities persist, it is clear that not only will we cancel the licenses of POGO operators but the entire industry may be affected by whatever decision will emanate from the national government. So let us help each other solve these issues the soonest.”
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