Coronavirus stops bingo and casinos, POGOs remain open

Ralf Rivas
Coronavirus stops bingo and casinos, POGOs remain open
Pagcor allows POGOs to continue operating, but with only a minimal number of workers

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (Pagcor) on Sunday, March 15, suspended all gaming operations in the country amid the spread of the novel coronavirus.

Pagcor said the suspension applies to all land-based casinos, electronic games, bingo, sports betting, poker and slot machines, and other activities regulated by Pagcor in Metro Manila.

Games will stay suspended while the community quarantine is in effect.

Restaurants and food outlets in the gaming areas may remain open. Hotels where the casinos and gaming facilities are housed may also continue to accommodate guests, but are discouraged from hosting large events.

As brick-and-mortar casinos close for the virus, Philippine offshore gaming operators (POGOs) will remain operational, but with only a minimal number of workers to be allowed in their workplaces.

“The rest of POGO workers will be restricted to their respective living quarters where they will observe social distancing and quarantine protocols,” Pagcor said.

POGOs’ clients are based abroad and no Filipino is allowed to participate in online gambling. (READ: Duterte won’t ban POGOs despite alleged crime links – Panelo)

Pagcor has remitted P2 billion to the Office of the President for the Socio-Civic Projects Fund to support testing for the coronavirus.

The Department of Health’s latest tally shows 111 confirmed coronavirus cases in the Philippines, of which 98 are currently admitted to hospitals, 5 have been discharged, and 8 have died–

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Ralf Rivas

A sociologist by heart, a journalist by profession. Ralf is Rappler's business reporter, covering macroeconomy, government finance, companies, and agriculture.