Go away POGO: Pasig City shuts down all POGO, E-games, E-bingo outlets

True to its promise, the city government of Pasig has shut down all Philippine Offshore Gaming Operations (POGOS), E-games, and E-bingo outlets in the city, Pasig City Mayor Vico Sotto announced on Monday, Feb. 12.

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Mayor Vico Sotto

According to Sotto, the city government had already given POGO, E-games, and E-bingo operators one year to cease their operations pursuant to Pasig' City's Ordinance 55 s. 2022.

"Some POGOs were closed during my first term with the last one, registered as a "BPO," was raided by the NBI in 2022. As for the E-games/E-bingos, their permits expired last Dec. 31, 2023. We gave them a chance, more than one month, to peacefully close on their own. However, in blatant disregard of the law and local government regulations, 18 of them continued operating without any permits until this February," Sotto said

"Last Friday (Feb 9, 2024) I gave the order to our Business Permit and Licensing Department (BPLD), with police assistance, to shut them down," he added.


(Photo from Mayor Vico Sotto)

The mayor explained that the reason why the city government passed the ordinance is because they have nothing good to do in our society.

"Ang dami nang nalulong, meron pang nagpakamatay at kaso ng human trafficking na kaugnay nito. Bukod pa ito sa lagayan na nangyayari sa konseho noon. Kung sasabihin nila na may 'taxes' silang binabayaran, ay hindi rin naman ganun kalaki ang mawawala sa atin (A lot of people became addicted to these with others even killing themselves. There were also cases of human trafficking and corruption happening in the council before. Even if they are saying that they are paying taxes, the  city would not be greatly affected by its loss)," he noted.

Sotto clarified that Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) outlets such as Lotto are not included in the ordinance.

In December of 2022, the Pasig City Council approved on third and final reading the landmark ordinance prohibiting online gambling and Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators or POGO-related operations and services in the city.

All members of the 11th City Council agreed to pass the ordinance authored and sponsored by Councilor Simon Romulo Tantoco, who is also the chairman of the Committee on Games and Amusement, on its third and final reading during the council’s regular session.

The anti-gambling ordinance disallows “the operations, applications, and approval of licenses to operate online games of chance, including, but not limited to, online casinos, E-games, online sabong, E-Bingo outlets, online poker, and computer gaming stations.”

It also disallows the “operations of service providers providing technical support” to the aforementioned online games of chance. These include “POGOs and any related business thereof within the territorial jurisdiction of Pasig City.”

The ordinance sets “a period of one year for the cessation of operations of listed operating establishments, providing penalties therefore and for other purposes.”