Cambodia and the Philippines to stop issuing new online gambling licenses
China has mounted pressure on Cambodia and the Philippines to halt online gambling licenses.
While some countries such as the Netherlands are going the way of liberalizing the online gambling market, there are some going in the opposite direction. We've seen exactly this in the last few days in Cambodia and the Philippines. We'll take a look at the story next.
Chinese pressure to act
The Cambodian government has decided that, effective immediately, they will cease to allow online gambling licenses. The explanation provided is that the industry has become a haven for foreign criminals to extort money, adversely impacting the social fabric on the country of roughly 16 million. The Philippines have announced that they will abstain from issuing any further online gambling licenses. Over the last few years, demand from the mainland Chinese to play online and mobile has increased at a rapid pace.
China has been pressuring both countries to halt online gambling after concerns over the negative impact on Chinese citizens. Amongst the reasons, China has not been happy about what they claim to be an illegal outflow of money.
While Cambodia has obliged, citing the impact on the social fabric, the Philippines has agreed only to temporarily halt the issuance of further licenses.
Philippines gambling industry
While China has acknowledged the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) announcement to suspend new licenses to offshore operators until the end of the year, they are still not happy. This is because their aim is to see a complete stop to online gambling. Since 2016, the Philippines has issued 50+ offshore gambling operator licenses. This has fuelled industry revenue which is projected to approach 9 billion pesos. The industry employs 130,000+ workers, many of which are from China.
Whether the Philippines buckles to pressure and completely bans online gambling remains to be seen.