Globe Blocked 1,345 Illegal Online Gambling Sites in First Quarter of 2024

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Globe Blocked 1,345 Illegal Online Gambling Sites in First Quarter of 2024
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Globe Telecom Inc., a leading telecommunications provider in the Philippines, blocked 1,345 illegal gambling websites in the first quarter of 2024, the company announced over the weekend.

That’s a staggering 967% increase from the same quarter last year, when a total of 126 sites were banned. The service provider said out of this year’s first quarter total, 260 sites were blocked in January, 855 in February, and 230 in March.

Globe cited illegal gambling sites as gateway to fraud, identity theft, malware, and problem gambling 

Globe said that illegal gambling sites are making gamblers more vulnerable to fraud and problem gambling. The company is using content filtering systems to help keep its customers safe from unlicensed online gambling operations.

“Illegal online gambling can have devastating financial and social consequences, fueling problematic gambling behavior and exposing users to potential fraud, malware, and cybercrime,” said Globe chief information security officer Anton Bonifacio.

“We have an ethical obligation to make the internet safer and are continuing our relentless push to identify and prevent access to these unlawful sites on our network,” Bonifacio added.

Globe blocked just 52 illegal gambling sites when it first began tracking unlicensed sportsbooks/betting sites data. The number jumped to 396 in 2022 and 4,237 in 2023.

Globe has invested over $2.7 million into the company’s Make It Safe PH program to protect children and problem gamblers for a more secure online environment.

Make It Safe PH was first launched in 2017 to bring awareness to the online risks of using illegal gambling sites.

The Global Digital Thumbprint Program (DTP) is a multi-awarded program designed to help the “Filipino youth become responsible online citizens; through a series or workshops and e-modules on digital citizenship and online safety,” according to the site. 

It is based on the Optus Digital Thumbprint in-school program in Australia. Globe DTP is also a part of The Philippines Department of Education K12 curriculum in public schools.

The telecommunications company blocked 404,730 illegal sites, URLs in the first nine months of 2023

In December 2023, Globe announced that it blocked a total of 404,730 sites and Uniform Resource Links (URLs) in the first nine months of last year. 

“The figure marks a substantial 45% hike in barred URLs and domains compared to the 278,555 registered in the same period last year following an upgrade of its filtering capabilities in both mobile and broadband services, underscoring Globe’s commitment to creating a safer online environment,” a statement issued by the firm read. 

Globe said this increase “was even more pronounced in the third quarter of [2023], where the number of malicious sites cut off by Globe soared by 70.8% to 267,985, compared to 156,857 reported in the same quarter of 2022.” 

The Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp (Pagcor), a gaming regulator and operator, earned $293 million in 2022 from the 41 brick-and-mortar casinos it operates. 

A study by consulting firm Grand View Research revealed that online gambling in the Philippines is expected to see a compound annual growth rate of 11.7% from 2023-2030.

“Delving deeper into the January-September figures, Globe blocked 397,637 URLs, a significant rise from 275,720 in 2022. It has also successfully restricted 4,795 domains in 2023, more than three times higher than the 1,432 blocked in the previous year. Focusing on child pornography, one of the most heinous online crimes, Globe barred 2,298 domains by the end of September 2023, compared to 1,403 during the same period last year.”