Philippines gaming regulator PAGCOR has so far failed to collect Php1.38 billion (US$27.7 million) in receivables from Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators (POGO), partly due to some POGOs shutting down during COVID.
According to a report from the Commission on Audit, uncollected revenues from the POGO industry dwarf those from other gaming sectors, such as poker at just Php9 million (US$180,000) in unpaid dues and electronic bingo at Php6 million (US$120,000).
It is also seen as having a significant negative impact on the agencys ability to fulfil its charter, with the report stating that PAGCORs inability to collect past due accounts receivable for more than one year but less than 10 years amounting to Php1.382 billion deprived PAGCOR of additional funds for its operations.
It added, Further verification revealed that the past due receivables from offshore gaming were the accounts of the POGOs with cancelled operating sites and some with approved payment restructuring that have been already endorsed to the Legal Department for appropriate action, among others.
The POGO industry has been hit hard by COVID-19, with the number of licensees falling from 60 to 33 and accredited service providers under their watch from 300 to 167 since the start of the pandemic.
PAGCOR stated in its reply to the Commission of Audit that there were 15 POGOs owing money of which eight had already had their licenses cancelled with another three under review and one suspended.