Philippines closes 175 gambling companies, deports 40,000 Chinese

Philippine officials announced that the country would suspend operations of 175 foreign gambling companies and deport about 40,000 Chinese workers.

“The crackdown comes after a series of reports of murders, kidnappings and other crimes committed by Chinese nationals against their own countrymen,” Philippine Justice Department spokesman Jose Dominic Clavano said on Thursday. September 26 announcement.

Mr. Clavano said the aforementioned companies were closed due to expired business licenses, revoked or failed to pay fees to the Philippine government. Deportation of Chinese workers will begin in October.

The Chinese Embassy in the Philippines later announced that Beijing supported Manila’s move to expel and crack down on online gambling-related crimes. It said the Chinese government “resolutely opposes gambling and will take firm measures to combat this behaviour”.

Casino employees in Pasay City, Philippines collect chips on a table in March 2015.  Photo: Reuters.

Casino employees in Pasay City, Philippines collect chips on a table in March 2015. Image: Reuters.

Online gambling emerged in the Philippines since 2016, the companies providing this service have grown exponentially in the country. Online gambling operators take advantage of Philippine gaming laws to target customers in China, where gambling is prohibited.

At its peak, online gambling providers in the Philippines employed more than 300,000 Chinese workers. However, the Covid-19 pandemic and higher tax rates forced many units to move to operate elsewhere.

Real estate consulting firm Leechiu Property Consultants estimates that if the online gambling business completely withdraws from the Philippines, the vacant office space for lease will amount to more than one million square meters.

The company said that the online gambling industry in the Philippines employs 201,000 Chinese workers and 111,000 local workers, providing $3.22 billion a year for the Southeast Asian country.

Nguyen Tien (Theo Reuters)

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