By Nathan Joyes

Philippines Central Bank Governor Benjamin Diokno has said he would rather operators leave his country on a permanent basis.

Diokno acknowledged banning online gambling would have an impact on the economy, but also recognised the risks online gambling can lead to.

He said: "There are some benefits, in terms of if operators pay their taxes but there are also some risks. I tend to be risk-averse. I’d rather they leave, if I have my way."

Philippine offshore gambling operators draw visitors from China, who both play and work for them.

The Philippine gaming regulator has stopped issuing new licenses to online gambling firms, due to a high number of illegal citizens from China working for the operators.

Diokno said: "The industry contributed only a few billion pesos in tax and had little impact on the real estate but presented a risk of money laundering."

Cambodia, a regional neighbour to the Philippines, announced it would ban online gambling altogether earlier this year.

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