The exploding online gaming industry in the Philippines, usually seen as loaded with controversies, proved the knight in shining armour of the country’s property sector. The local real estate scene was headed for a near-certain downturn had the so-called POGOs did not come to the rescue.
POGO or Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators have been authorised by the national government to put up virtual casinos in select locations, leading to significant presence in the southern portion of Metro Manila. As a direct result, the area has been benefiting lately from higher demands of commercial and residential spaces.
The online casinos, for instance, chiefly cater to Chinese gamers and bettors from the mainland and personnel manning the stations need to be Mandarin speakers. Operators fly in these workers from China and over the years their numbers grew to around 200,000.
Naturally, these POGO workers will require accommodations and the local property market is more than happy to provide the needs. With the demand on the uptick so quick, it’s inevitable that housing prices will go up, and more so reflected in the luxury condominium sector.
It’s hard to deny, therefore, that the growing industry of online gaming is firing up a huge part of the real estate industry in the Philippines, and in a big way. There is an ongoing boom in the market, experts declared.
“If not for offshore gaming operators, the property market would have crashed last year,” Property Report quoted David Leechiu, CEO at Leechiu Property Consultants, as saying.
Likewise, it’s quite obvious that POGO is bringing in the benefits in a wide-ranging fashion. The hundreds of thousands of Chineses workers now moving about in Manila will be spending money for food, essentials and even luxury needs. The local economy is moving up, partly fuelled by these gaming operations.
Manila, in fact, is projecting that from the direct investments coming from POGO the national treasury stands to collect revenues of up to $115 million by the end of 2018. No mention was made on the profits to be made by industries that POGO will make an impact on but it is highly likely that the figures will be on the immense side.
However, offshore gaming operations in the Philippines are not without the controversies. For one, the influx of Chinese workers was seen as creating an imbalance in the domestic labour sector. Complaints have been aired that job slots that Filipinos can fill ended up going to Chinese workers, many said to be staying in the country undocumented.
Another concern is that the heavy demand for condominiums by the migrant workers from China had caused undue inflation of property prices. In many instances, condo units have become inaccessible to local buyers because Chinese buyers have jacked up the prevailing price.
The situation, described in several media reports as already alarming, was best summed up by one member of the Philippine legislature.
“With so many of them coming here, they are not just robbing Filipinos of jobs, but they’re also taking away our homes,” Senator Joel Villanueva said, per a related story by Property Report.