Amid embassy letter that online casinos illegal in China, PH building hubs for Chinese gambling
The Philippines’ gaming regulator on Thursday (Aug 8) sought to give assurances that online casino hubs, or those designed for Philippine offshore gaming operators (Pogo), were meant to protect the welfare of their mostly Chinese workers which the Chinese Embassy had said were working in an industry illegal in China.
There are an estimated 138,000 Chinese workers in Pogo offices, a number close to the manpower of the entire Philippine National Police.
In a statement, Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. chair and CEO Andrea Domingo said Pogo hubs are integrated real estate developments that have all the basic needs of mainly Chinese workers.
“The hubs are, in fact, being established for the protection of the foreign workers,” she said.
“They are no longer exposed to crimes being commited against them on the streets, they are assured of good working conditions and decent living quarters, and will be given their proper visas as there will also be other relevant government agencies setting up offices at the hubs,” she said.
On Thursday, Philippine media received a statement attributed to the Chinese Embassy expressing concern about Pagcor’s concept of Pogo hubs, and asking local authorities to tighten the screws on the industry that has been credited with helping sustain the ongoing boom in the Philippine real estate sector.
But the Pagcor chief said that concerns that Chinese workers would be herded into these Pogo hubs, which are operated also by Chinese, and exploited there have no basis, and explained that their operations would be regulated by authorities and checked for compliance with welfare standards.
Domingo said these Pogo hubs will have office and residential spaces, food establishments, wellness and recreational facilities, service shops and others.
“[There will be] no need to be going to other places just for some of their needs,” she said. “Nonetheless, they are free to go anywhere they want to without any limitation on their personal rights or liberties.”
More importantly, Pogohubs — such as the sprawling development rising on the former Island Cove resort in Kawit, Cavite — have facilities to accommodate the presence of representatives from government offices to ensure full compliance with Philippine immigration, labor and tax regulations./TSB
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