Beijing is growing increasingly disenchanted with the burgeoning online gaming industry in the Philippines, which is draining hundreds of millions of renminbi through underground banks and cross-border money laundries
The government plans to step up action to stamp out illegal gambling and is warning their citizens at home that if they are gambling overseas. They may be committing a criminal act.
They may be committing a criminal act. As reported in April, many as 700 million of China’s 1.4 billion people are expected to be gambling online globally over the next five years unless Beijing cracks down.
On August 8, the Chinese embassy in Manila posted a strongly-worded statement warning that the proliferation of Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators, or POGOS is “posing a threat to China’s financial security and supervision” and that all forms of gambling involving Chinese gamblers or targeting the mainland are illegal and will be stamped out.
That threatens an industry that suddenly has grown into a new economic pillar for the Philippines. The POGOs were only authorized by the government in 2016 and have exploded in size, giving Manila a new and unsavory reputation as the Macau of Southeast Asia.
With the advent of convenient, well-developed payment systems through credit cards. Small-time bettors using their phones can live-stream wagers of as little as 10 RMB (US69¢) through Putonghua-speaking computers.
More affluent gamblers can use attractive fashionably-dressed proxies wearing headsets to play baccarat and other games. Thus the Chinese at home are finding it easy to spend vast amounts of money and time online, a growing percentage of that passing through Manila With computers and smartphones, they can hide their gambling from authorities.
In July, it was announced in Manila that offshore gaming, most of it operated by an estimated 130,000 mainland Chinese
President Rodrigo Duterte said there could be as many as half a million – who have flooded into the Philippines, either legally or illegally, is due to overtake offshore business processing as the biggest tenant of Manila real estate.
The Philippines is the world’s biggest offshore business processing destination, outpointing India.