The predicament of the casino industry in the Philippines has been seeing complicated times. The most recent move to address the issues hounding the gambling industry came from Philippine Senator Win Gatchalian. He proposes that there should be a separate regulator for casinos and the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR).
He cited that there have been issues with PAGCOR wherein it allows operators who are seemingly involved in criminal activity to continue operating in the Philippines. Having another party go through the details, and probe into what’s the root cause of the issues would be a good move to put an end to the current predicament PAGCOR is sitting in.
He also called out PAGCOR for the lack of any sense of urgency to address these issues. Among these Gatchalian pointed out the December 2022 privilege speech from Senator Grace Poe. This is where she named two Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators (POGOs) involved in questionable activities.
The only action that PAGCOR has taken to address this is a fine of PHP 500,000 (USD 9,180) with the body still coordinating with police.
This shows the conflict of interest for Gatchalian, “In my view, it’s much cleaner to establish a separate gaming regulator regulating all gaming corporations including PAGCOR itself. PAGCOR should be subjected to an independent regulator because they also operate casinos.”
“PAGCOR makes money out of the licensees and the service providers. On one hand, they are making money, they are making revenue, on the other hand, they are regulating, meaning they’re enforcing laws against these licensees.”
A more proactive approach should be taken by PAGCOR when looking into its involved service providers. This should include immediate coordination with the police as well as launch its own investigation.
He further added, “We are talking about kidnapping cases here, we are talking about human trafficking cases here. We cannot let these types of individuals and operators operate on our shores because that’s the kind of criminal activity that they are embroiled in.”
And on that note, we are hopeful that things are sorted out in PAGCOR. They are going to be a big factor in how legitimate POGOs will be viewed by the public as well as by the government. The slow-to-action attitude of PAGCOR towards its illicit employees though needs to be addressed. This will spell the difference on where the government’s decision on what to do next will be based on.
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