One-fourth of Pogo workers Filipinos, says Pagcor
A quarter of the people employed by registered firms in the Philippine Offshore Gaming Operations (POGO) are Filipinos, according to the country’s casino regulator, debunking the assertion of critics that the lucrative sector benefits only Chinese workers.
Speaking to media on Wednesday (March 11), Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (Pagcor) chair and CEO Andrea Domingo said there are currently 30,521 Filipino employees working in these companies which provide online gaming services to bettors overseas, primarily China.
“While Pogos cater to foreign customers and employ foreign customer service representatives who could effectively address their concerns, other areas such as information technology support, live studio and gaming platform providers employ local workers,” she said.
“This number does not include employees in the ancillary industries such as real estate, transportation and retail,” Domingo added.
Pagcor data showed that licensed Pogo firms employ a total of 120,976 workers as of the latest count, with 69,613 of these being Chinese, who are employed for their language skills, as they are in charge of communicating — either through chat or voice calls — with their compatriots overseas who play Pogo games.
The same Pagcor data showed that there are 3,000 Vietnamese nationals employed by Pogo firms, 2,400 Indonesians, 1,700 Taiwanese and 1,200 Malaysians, along with workers of 44 other countries around the world.
“Employment of Filipinos in Pogos will continue to rise, as more and more Filipinos are able to learn and qualify for the jobs offered in the industry,” Domingo said.
She said Chinese employees “are now being required to undergo mandatory courses for them to learn the laws and proper behavior while in the Philippines.”
The Pagcor chief also debunked criticism that online gaming firms contribute nothing to the economy or the state’s coffers, noting that these firms paid P5.7 billion in fees to Pagcor in 2019, which was the highest level ever since the sector became a regulated industry.
When Pagcor first introduced the concept of Pogos in 2016, it earned P73.3 million in fees from the gaming firms. It then rose sharply to P3.1 billion in 2017, and P6.1 billion in 2018.
Under the agency’s regulatory requirement, all Pogo licensees must remit 2 percent of their gross gaming revenues as regulatory fees.
Domingo said from 2016 to 2019, Pagcor income from Pogos already reached P18 billion. This included fees for application, processing and regulation.
She said these revenues are above other fees and taxes being collected from Pogos by other government agencies, among them the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR).
Edited by TSB
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