OFFSHORE gaming has already arrived in Manila, occupying on average of 10,000 square meters inside office and commercial buildings.

Once this arrives in Cebu, this will further drive demand for office and commercial spaces, said Colliers International.

Latest data from the property research firm reveal that as of the third quarter of 2016, vacancy rate for office spaces is at 10 percent, said Colliers research manager Joey Roi H. Bondoc. This is equivalent to 12,000 square meters of vacant office spaces out of the inventory of 120,000 square meters expected this year.

But the vacancy rate is expected to go down within the year, as more knowledge process outsourcing companies from Metro Manila are looking to expand in Cebu, said Bondoc. IT/BPM companies, he said, generally take up 80 percent of office spaces in Cebu and Metro Manila.

Moreover, opportunities from offshore gaming operators to expand in Cebu can pump the demand for space.

“The minimum take-up for each offshore gaming facility is 10,000 square meters (in Metro Manila),” Bondoc said. This is a welcome development for Cebu, he added.

Offshore gaming is conducted via internet using a network and software to be offered exclusively to offshore gaming players who have online gaming accounts with the licensee.

Under Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (Pagcor) rules, only foreigners outside the country are authorized to play, which means Filipinos residing abroad and foreigners staying in the Philippines are not allowed to take part in the gaming activity.

However, there are unresolved issues. Last December, the Union for National Development and Good Governance-Philippines, in a petition before the Supreme Court, said that Pagcor’s granting of license to Philippine offshore gaming operators is “unconstitutional.”