Philippines Gambling Udate: PAGCOR Flexes its Muscles, Lam Still on the Lamb
PAGCOR Makes a Stand
The Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) has a message for the Philippine gambling industry: We regulate your operations, whether your players are offshore or domestic.
This announcement came in the wake of a legal action by Union for National Development and Good Governance-Philippines (UNLAD) challenging PAGCOR’s authority to license offshore-facing operators.
Not one to be slowed down by the grind of justice, PAGCOR recently issued 35 new Philippine Offshore Gambling Operator (POGO) license last week. The new licenses have already generated more than $18 million in application fees and revenue for the government, according to a report on CalvinAyre.com.
PAGCOR is expected to issue another set of offshore licenses in the near future.
Jack Lam Still on the Lam
In other Philippines’ gambling news, casino owner and Macau junket king Jack Lam remains a fugitive from justice after President Rodrigo Duterte issued an order for his arrest last week.
Though Lam has not formally been charged with any crimes, he is wanted for his connection to an alleged scheme to bribe government officials in order hasten the issuance of a gaming license for his Philippines-based gambling operation.
That particular operation is the center of a legal firestorm surrounding the arrest of the more than 1,000 Chinese nationals who worked at its call center. Those workers were rounded up recently by a Philippine immigration authorities and are mostly accused of overstaying tourist visas.
Early this week, two Philippine Bureau of Immigration (BI) officials were arrested and accused of extorting cash from Lam with promises to help expedite the release of his jailed call center workers, according to reports from the Philippine media. Both men have close ties to the Duterte administration.
Lam’s whereabouts remain a mystery since he fled the country last week.