PAGCOR calls on central bank, AML Council to investigate financial institutions over illegal online gambling concerns

Philippines gaming regulator PAGCOR says it will ask the central bank of the Philippines and the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC) to launch investigations into banks, money transfer businesses and payment solutions providers in an effort to combat a recent increase in illegal online gaming operations.

According to a statement published on PAGCOR’s website on Friday, several illegal gambling operations have been under surveillance by the Philippine National Police Anti-Cybercrime Group (PNP-ACG) in recent months, including an illegal online bingo operator that has already been shut down.

The regulator has subsequently issued a public warning advising the Philippine public “not to engage in any unauthorized gambling activities offered by unscrupulous individuals and groups,” pointing to increased reports on illegal online gambling being promoted through social media platforms like Facebook.

These activities are not related to the nation’s regulated Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators (POGO) industry.

“To further strengthen the fight against unauthorized gambling activities, the state run -gaming regulator will ask for the assistance of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) and the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC) to conduct investigation on banks, remittance services, and payment solutions used fund conduits for these illegal operations,” PAGCOR said.

“While illegal gambling per se is not among the predicate crimes of money laundering, fraud and swindling are. These are based on the act of taking bets from the public by falsely representing that they have a legitimate business, when in fact, they have no such authority.”

PAGCOR revealed in January that it had signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the AMLC aimed at improving cooperation around money laundering and terrorism financing risks.