Abante bill bans POGOs

Bienvenido Abante
House Minority Leader and Manila, 6th District Rep. Bienvenido Abante.

A HOUSE leader wants the Philippines to become a no-POGO (Philippine Offshore Gaming Operation) zone.

Minority Leader and Manila Rep. BIenvenidoAbante filed a measure seeking to ban POGO activities in the country.

Abante called POGO a "social menace and a source of unimaginable corruption."

House Bill Number 6701 or the Anti-POGO Act of 2020, expressly prohibits the "conduct of online games of chance or sporting events via the internet using a network and software or program, exclusively to offshore authorized players, within Philippine territory."

The prohibition covers the facilitation of any offshore gaming through any means or device within Philippine territory;  acceptance of any form of betting for purposes of offshore gaming operations; acting as a service provider for offshore gaming operations in the Philippines;  creation of a POGO hub in the Philippines; establishment of a gaming laboratory in the Philippines or providing services as a gaming laboratory;  possession of gaming paraphernalia; and  aiding in, protecting or abetting, the conduct of any act or activity prohibited or declared illegal under the measure.

The bill, if passed, would revoke all existing licenses given by the government to POGOs currently operating in the country.

The measure also creates an Inter-Agency Task Force-POGOs (IATF-POGOs) that will be tasked to administer and implement the provisions of the Anti-POGO Act.

The task force will be chaired by the Secretary of the Department of Justice, with the Secretary of Department of the Interior and Local Government as Vice Chairperson.

Members of the task force include the heads of the Department of Finance, Department of Information, Communication & Technology, Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation , Securities and Exchange Commission, and Anti-Money Laundering Council.

Those found violating the measure could be fined between 100,000 to 300,000 pesos and be imprisoned between four to six years for the first offense; fined 200,000 to 500,000 pesos and be imprisoned between six to eight years for the second offense; and fined five to ten million pesos and be imprisoned between seven to ten years for the third offense.