23,118 jobs at risk if POGOs close shop

If government shuts down legitimate Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators and their service providers, more Filipinos will be without jobs, an industry association said on Monday.

The Association of Service Providers and POGOs (ASPAP) appealed to government to carefully weigh the economic contributions of POGOs and how their closure will impact on the economy before deciding on the fate of the online gaming sector.

Composed of 16 Pagcor-licensed POGOs and 68 service providers, ASPAP members employ a total of 23,118 Filipinos (direct hired – 11,776; indirect hired – 11,342) and 17,130 foreigners.

“We’re proud to say that our group employs more Pinoys than foreigners,” ASPAP representative Michael Danganan said.

More Filipinos

Since ASPAP represents less than half of Pagcor’s 35 POGO licensees, he said the number of Filipinos employed by the entire POGO sector “is definitely much higher.”

Sharing more details on ASPAP members’ operations, ASPAP spokesperson Paul Bongco said the group has 129 offices for customer relations service, IT support, and live studio streaming, among other functions.

Total floor area occupied by the 35 POGOs is 407,841 square meters – or the equivalent of almost 1,000 standard-sized basketball courts.

These offices are mostly found in Parañaque, Makati, Cavite, Pasay, Pampanga, Manila and Mandaluyong.

Based on ASPAP’s data, about 31.4 percent of their Filipino workers serve as team leaders or supervisors, administrative assistants, sport-book handlers, kitchen staff, security officers, finance assistants, accounting assistants, and 60 other jobs.

Sixteen percent work as data entry clerks; 10.5 percent as customer service representatives; 10 percent as housekeepers; and the rest as general office staff, company drivers, payment officers, maintenance staff, dealers or presenters, data processors, and security guards.


Bongco said ASPAP members share most Filipinos’ concerns over the reported rise in crime incidence in the POGO sector. He stressed, however, that it’s unfair to blame the whole industry for the illegal activities of a few persons.

He said ASPAP members want to do business quietly, take care of their employees and pay their corresponding share in taxes.

“We thus appeal to our government – President [Ferdinand] Marcos and our senators in particular – not to look at the POGO sector as the enemy but rather an ally in nation building,” Bongco said.

Besides employment, industry data show that in the last six years POGOs contributed more than P61-billion to the government in terms of taxes and fees paid to Pagcor, the Bureau of Internal Revenue, Department of Labor and Employment and Bureau of Immigration, he added.

Real estate analyst David Leechiu also estimates that if POGOs are shut down, the Philippine economy could lose as much as P200-billion annually from taxes and fees, office space and residential lease rentals, retail shopping, electricity, meals, and others.

ASPAP was established in 2020 in response to the onslaught of COVID-19. To help in government’s pandemic response, the group donated P213-million in cash; P24-million in relief goods; 300,000 test kits; 2.5 million surgical masks, and other hospital equipment.

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