The discourse surrounding the impact of offshore gaming operators in the Philippines has been intensifying, with various stakeholders weighing in on the subject. Recently, the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) has taken a firm stance, highlighting that alien hacking and scam syndicates (AHaSS) are the true threats to national security, not the legitimate licensed offshore gaming operators known as Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators (POGOs).

PAGCOR Chairman and CEO Alejandro H. Tengco has been vocal about the positive contributions of legitimate Internet Gaming Licensees (IGLs). In 2023 alone, these licensed operators generated over PHP 5 billion (US$85 million) for PAGCOR’s gross revenues. This substantial financial input underscores the role of legitimate gaming operations in bolstering the nation’s economy.

According to Tengco, the real danger lies in the activities of alien hacking and scam syndicates operating underground. These groups engage in illicit activities that pose severe risks to national security. “Our law enforcement agencies are working to locate and dismantle these groups, and we are fully cooperating with them,” Tengco stated. He urged the public to report any suspicious activities in their communities, emphasizing that these criminal syndicates are often armed and dangerous.

To differentiate between legitimate operations and illegal activities, PAGCOR has implemented stringent monitoring processes. Licensed gaming operators are closely observed by PAGCOR’s monitoring teams, which are embedded in physical venues, including land-based casinos. This ensures that operators adhere to their licensing terms, pay their taxes accordingly, and provide legitimate employment opportunities.

PAGCOR’s commitment to maintaining the integrity of the gaming industry is evident through its enforcement measures. Operators found violating their licenses face fines and penalties, and in severe cases, revocation of their licenses and forfeiture of bonds. This reinforces PAGCOR’s dedication to upholding legal standards within the industry.

PAGCOR’s approach extends beyond monitoring legitimate operators. The focus also includes enhancing security and law enforcement efforts against cyber-criminals. By collaborating with law enforcement agencies, PAGCOR aims to dismantle underground networks and protect the public from the threats posed by alien hacking and scam syndicates.

Recent law enforcement efforts have led to notable successes, such as the arrest of illegal POGOs by the Presidential Anti-Organized Crime Commission (PAOCC). However, concerns have been raised regarding potential information leaks prior to these arrests, as voiced by Senator Risa Hontiveros. Such incidents highlight the ongoing challenges in combating illegal activities and underscore the need for continued vigilance and cooperation between agencies.

PAGCOR’s stance on differentiating between legal gaming operators and underground criminal activities is crucial. By focusing on enhancing security and law enforcement efforts, PAGCOR aims to create a safer environment for the public and maintain the integrity of the gaming industry.

The organization encourages the public to remain vigilant and report any suspicious activities. By working together, PAGCOR believes that the Philippines can effectively combat the threats posed by alien hacking and scam syndicates while supporting the legitimate operations that contribute positively to the nation’s economy.

As the debate on the impact of offshore gaming operators continues, PAGCOR’s position is clear: the real threat to national security stems from alien hacking and scam syndicates, not legitimate POGOs. Through rigorous monitoring, strict enforcement, and collaboration with law enforcement agencies, PAGCOR is committed to safeguarding the interests of the nation and ensuring that the gaming industry operates within the bounds of the law.

For those interested in joining the fight against these underground threats, PAGCOR urges you to stay informed, report suspicious activities, and support the efforts of law enforcement agencies. Together, we can create a secure and prosperous future for the Philippines.

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