The Asian iGaming market is sent reeling following the announcement by the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) to suspend all gaming operations across the entire nation of Philippines — including the Philippines Offshore Gaming Operator (POGO) industry — in an effort to combat the spread of the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19). The shutdown is expected to last until at least the 12th of April 2020, and operators across Asia are scrambling to fill the productivity void caused by this large-scale interruption.
Why was it shut down?
The temporary shutdown was set in place after President Rodrigo Duterte announced a month-long quarantine for the entire main island of Luzon, expanding from the quarantine just days earlier for only the Metro Manila area.
With these new restrictions, POGO business premises are no longer allowed to maintain a skeletal workforce, and all POGO employees are required to “remain in their places of residence, and no loitering or mass gatherings are allowed.” Any IT infrastructure and facilities must be maintained remotely whenever possible, and maintenance staff must obtain permits from the Inter-Agency Task Force for issues that can only be fixed on-site.
While these measures are only in place in the main island of Luzon, POGOs outside the area have also been advised to follow suit and respect the health and safety measures in place for their respective local governments.
Following concerns regarding the shutdown, PAGCOR Chairman and CEO Andrea Domingo has stated that “Our situation right now is different. While revenue generation is important in our operations, the health and well-being of every Filipino is our immediate priority. By practicing the health protocols recommended by our Health Department, we can all help curb, if not stop the spread of COVID-19.”
Concerns of the iGaming industry
Multiple popular iGaming product providers have already been affected by the suspension of business and quarantine efforts caused by COVID-19. As a result, operators have started to look overseas for alternative providers in the region — particularly aggregators of iGaming products such as GamingSoft Connect.