Pandemic Has Had Positive Impact on Global Online Gambling

Global online gambling market reports on the trends and forecast for 2021 reveal that the pandemic has had a positive impact on the online gambling industry. According to the report, there has been a substantial increase in the number of consumers that turned to online casinos during months-long lockdowns.

The continuing increase has been sustained as there are now technologies such as chat bots for online support, machine-learning experiences, payment processors, APIs for banking services, secure messaging platforms and other AI-supported systems that have made online casino gambling and sports betting a hassle-free way of experiencing a satisfying gambling entertainment. In fact, the huge spike came mostly from the women population, as most gambling websites offer mobile casino apps that allow them to bet on online casino games using their smartphones.

The forecast period for the growth trend is up to 2026, which can even go beyond since even Southeast Asian countries that do not allow gambling of any form are now considering the legalization of online gambling in their respective jurisdiction.

Online casinos are expected to experience growth since many of the popular sports betting market offered by online sportsbooks have been cancelled In light of the continuing spread of COVID-19, which has been confirmed to have evolved into a more infectious type of viral strain, several countries imposed restrictions or bans in the holding of tournaments and international competition in their jurisdiction.

Southeast Asian Countries that are Now Open to  Legalization of Online Gambling

The government of Malaysia was the first to announce that there are now plans to establish a regulatory body that will see to the legalization of online gambling; but with only for the non-Muslim members of the population. Malaysia after all, is predominantly a Muslim country where the practice of Islamic faith must adhere to the Shaira law that prohibita gambling in any form.

Malaysia has in fact already sent a Memorandum of Agreement to its neighboring country, the Philippines; addressed to the Ms. Andrea Domingo, Chief of the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR). PAGCOR actually oversees the licensing and operations of the licensed offshore online gambling operators of online casinos like mega888, which many Malaysians access for their remote gambling entertainment.

Apparently, there will be a collaboration between the two governments in instituting measures and protocols to ensure that only non-Muslim citizens of Malaysia will be given access to play in all PAGCOR-licensed online casinos.

In a more recent news, a member of Thailand’s parliament disclosed that Thai legislators are likewise mulling on formulating laws that would see to the legalization of online gambling in their country. Although the number of Muslims in Thailand is minimal, the country does not support any form of gambling except lottery and horse racing.

However, Minister of Parliament and leader of the Thai Civilized Party, Mongkolkit Suksintharanon, said that most Thai lawmakers are now considering proposals to legalize gambling. The country has been largely dependent on its tourism industry that it is now suffering from a great lack of internal revenue as a result of the necessary global travel bans and restrictions.

Global gambling analysts say that based on Minister Suksintharanon’s statement that “Thailand would become one of the most sought after destinations for a casino license in Asia, it can be deemed that the government of Thailand aims to follow the Philippines’ business model for gambling. That of licensing and regulating online gambling operators but at the same time prohibiting licensed operators from offering their online casino and sports betting products to locals

A Cursory Look at PAGCOR’s Online Gambling Licensing and Regulation

When contemplating to operate an Asia-facing online casino, PAGCOR is the likely authority from which to seek licensing and regulatory oversight. Inasmuch as most Southeast Asian countries do not support gambling as a legal business, the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation took on the responsibility of overseeing online casinos offering their products and services in neighboring Asian countries, in exchange for licensing fees and taxes on gaming revenues.

Mobile gaming apps and other systems of network communication make it possible for online casino operators to offer their gambling products to Asian players.

Nonetheless, a critical criterion that Asian punters look for when choosing an online casino is the trustworthiness of the operator. More often than not, they prefer to play only at licensed online casinos that are tested and certified in terms of fair and equitable gaming systems, especially on games of chance. In indonesia, one of the most popular PAGCOR-licensed online casinos is vslots88.

The Philippine government accepts licensing applications from local and foreign companies seeking to establish an online gambling business, through the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) as well as through authorities of the country’s economic zones, namely: the Cagayan Economic Zone (CEZA), the Freeport Area of Bataan (AFAB) and the Aurora Pacific Economic and Freeport (APECO).

Regulations and monitoring of compliance with gaming laws and regulations, are the sole responsibilities of PAGCOR.

Overview of the Licensing and Regulatory Requirements Imposed by PAGCOR

First off, the Philippine government has an ambivalent stance with regard to online gambling operations, because basically, the country also considers online gambling as illegal.

However, inasmuch as foreigh igaming companies have the technical capabilities to offer online gambling through the power of the Internet, PAGCOR conceptualized a system by which the Philippine government can capture a share of the revenues earned from illegal online gambling operations.

Rather than take action by blocking their entry, PAGCOR offered these companies licensing and regulatory oversight as outsourced gambling operators, whilst officially categorizing them as Philippine Outsourced Gambling Operators (POGOs). The classification clearly defines a POGO business as one that can develop and deliver online gambling products in other countries only and not offer them locally in the Philippines.

To date, more than 55 companies have been licensed as POGOs by PAGCOR, from which the country has collected multi billions in revenues, not only in terms of taxes but from other related aspects of online gambling operations as well.

Major PAGCOR Requirements for POGO Licensing

Aside from the  2% taxes on gaming revenues earned as outsourced gambling operators, companies must also pay 5% in franchise tax,

In addition, POGOs applying for a license have to pay US$150,000 as application fee. iI approved, $200,000 will be paid as licensing fees, $300,000 will be collected as security bond fee, and a minimum of $150,000 will have to be paid monthly as Minimum Guarantee Fund.

A licensed POGO must have an established place of operation in the Philippines; to which PAGCOR requires occupancy of a space that has a floor area of at at least 10,000 square meters.

POGOs may employ foreign nationals as part of their work force but are required to submit the foreign employees’ names to the Dept of Labor and Employment (DOLE) as well as register them with the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR). Mainly because POGOs are required to report and remit taxes withheld from salaries of foreign employees working in the Philippines.

A POGO must pass testing conducted by Gaming Laboratories International to see if the operator can successfully block Filipino residents from accessing POGO online gambling sites.

Moreover,the online gaming products and services of a POGO must pass testings performed by BMM Testing Laboratory on all games and security processes, in accordance with PAGCOR’s standard requirements on all licence holders of casino gaming operations. .

Any non-compliance with such requirements can serve as ground for PAGCOR’’s non-approval or revocation of a Philippine POGO license.