As part of a campaign against the infamously murky online gaming market, the Philippines would shut down 175 offshore gambling companies and deport around 40,000 Chinese employees, a justice ministry official announced on Monday.
The industry began to take off in the Philippines in 2016 and expanded rapidly as operators targeted clients in China, where gambling is illegal, by taking advantage of the nation's lax gaming rules.
Over 300,000 Chinese employees were employed by Philippine offshore gambling operators, or POGOs, at their height, but the epidemic and rising taxes have pushed many of them to relocate.
According to Jose Dominic Clavano, a spokesman for the justice ministry, "the crackdown was triggered by reports of murder, kidnapping and other crimes committed by Chinese nationals against fellow Chinese nationals."
According to Clavano, the licenses of the POGOs slated for closure were either expired or had been canceled due to infractions such failure to pay government fees. He also stated that the deportation of the Chinese workers would begin the next month.
According to the finance ministry, POGO fees alone brought in 3.9 billion pesos ($3.9 billion) last year and 7.2 billion pesos ($122.21 million) in 2020. Taxes, employee expenditures, and office rent are all expected to cost much more, according to economists.
Beijing, according to a statement from the Chinese embassy in Manila, backs deportations and a crackdown on crimes connected to POGO, and it "firmly opposes and takes tough measures to combat gambling."
A request for clarification was not immediately answered by the Philippine authority, which recently reported that there were 30 approved POGO enterprises as opposed to 60 before the outbreak.
A total withdrawal from the POGO sector, according to real estate firm Leechiu Property Consultants, would leave unoccupied 1.05 million square meters (259 acres) of office space, which is a third of Central Park in New York, as well as 8.9 billion pesos ($151 million) in lost yearly rent.
According to Leechiu's data, which estimates POGOs bring 190 billion pesos ($3.22 billion) to the economy each year, a windfall to the property and retail sectors, the industry employs 111,000 Filipinos and 201,000 Chinese.
By fLEXI tEAM