BSP study dismisses risks of POGOs pullout
Initial results of a study conducted by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas show that an immediate pullout by Philippine offshore gaming operators from the country will not have an impact on the financial stability, Governor Benjamin Diokno said Tuesday.
Diokno asked the BSP’s Financial Stability team and the Anti-Money Laundering Council to examine POGO’s impact on the property sector and the consumer business.
We don’t have yet the results of the POGO study but the initial findings show that they have no impact on financial stability… They can exit and there will be no risk,” Diokno said at the sidelines of the Euromoney’s Philippine Investment Forum at Fairmont Hotel in Makati City.
Diokno also said that the POGOs pullout might even have a positive impact. “That is positive for us. If they leave, it would be better because there will be no risk for money laundering,” he said.
Diokno did not confirm if POGOs were being used for money laundering. “That area has been known for money laundering. But I can’t confirm because I don’t know,” he said.
Diokno noted that the government already stopped issuing permits and licenses to new POGO applicants.
“And secondly, we are closely monitoring them… The [Agencies like] DoF (Department of Finance], PAGCOR [Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp.] and AMLC for their activities, not necessarily money laundering,” Diokno said.
Diokno said in August the BSP was studying the economic impact of the rapidly-growing offshore gaming operations in the country.
He said he himself did not know if the POGO operations had any positive impact on the economy.
“One of the BSP’s mandates is financial stability, so we want to see the financial risks [associated with it] so we study the POGO issue,” Diokno said.
“What if they leave? What will be the impact to the property sector,” he said, referring to earlier reports that POGO operations were causing the increasing take-up of property spaces in Metro Manila.
“You know the GFC [global financial crisis] started in the real estate sector, not from banks itself,” he said, pertaining to the global financial crisis in the past decade.
The Chinese embassy in Manila urged the Philippine government to crack down on POGOs, saying several Chinese citizens were illegally recruited and hired in offshore gaming operations in the Philippines.
State-run Pagcor middle of August said it stopped accepting new applications for offshore online gaming licenses after Beijing called on Manila to crack down on gambling operations targeting its citizens.
PAGCOR said there were 58 licensed offshore gaming operators in the country.