Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri said that China placed the Philippines on the overseas gambling blacklist. As a result, China would restrict its citizens to visit the country because of gambling-related activities.
According to gambling and sports news reports, Zubiri made the statement during a Senate hearing on Philippine offshore gaming operations or POGOs. Also, he said that he got the information from Chinese Ambassador Huang Xilian himself.
Amabassador Huang said that the country is part of the blacklist of tourist destinations because they don’t know if the Chinese tourist will go to the Philippines to join POGOs. Beijing opposed POGOs that flourished during former President Rodrigo Duterte’s administration. Also, Beijing claimed that POGOs are a threat to social order.
Overseas Gambling Blacklist
In 2019, Beijing asked the Philippine government to ban all online gambling, including the best gambling websites. However, Duterte didn’t grant the request. During that time, there were worries about crimes linked to the industry, including corruption, fraud, money laundering, and sex trafficking.
Duterte cleared POGOs of the alleged crimes connected to them. Also, he opted to continue its operations because he needed the funds for several public projects. Zubiri reiterated China’s opposition on online gambling.
When China added the Philippines to its international gambling blacklist was not immediately obvious. According to sports toto sources, Beijing first acknowledged having such lists in August 2020, and although it hasn’t been made public, it later added more slots in January 2021.
China did neither confirm or reject Zubiri’s claim in a statement to the media, nor did it mention if the Philippines was on its list of countries with problematic online gambling. The embassy said it had “stepped up cooperation” on a crackdown on POGO-related criminal activities against Chinese in the Philippines and was in “close touch” with the Philippine law enforcement agencies.