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Philippine Business District Halts New Online Casino Permits

File Photo: A general view of the skyline from the Makati City Hall in Manila, Philippines, May 11, 2010. (REUTERS/Nicky Loh)

By Cecilia Yap

Philippines — Makati City has declared a moratorium on new online casinos in the Philippines’ main business district, citing an “overheating” leasing market and rising criminality.

The city will no longer accept new applications for online casinos known as Philippine offshore gaming operators, or POGOs, and will crack down against illegal activities related to the industry, Makati City Mayor Abby Binay said in a statement.

Thousands of foreign workers employed by POGOs have increased the demand for homes and work stations for rent. “This puts the local property sector at risk of overheating, where its growth becomes unsustainable,” Binay said.

Makati, home to as many as 300 POGOs that mainly employ Chinese nationals, has been earning more than 200 million pesos a year in local business taxes from the industry, she said.

© 2019 Bloomberg L.P.