Illegal Online Casinos Fronting as Sari-sari stores busted by PNP

Posted by DG, Date posted at December 21, 2022

Biñan City, Laguna. One was set up as an aircon repair shop while the other was set up as a sari-sari store. The inconspicuous setup has been effective for some time in keeping the fraudsters from being caught red-handed. The criminals were, simply put, hiding in plain sight. 

Sari-sari store at aircon repair shop nabistong front lang ng illegal umanong online casino
Sari-sari store at aircon repair shop nabistong front lang ng illegal umanong online casino

The Philippine National Police (PNP) with the help and cooperation of other entities, was able to pinpoint both locations and duly arrested all participants on site. To date, they were all workers of the illegal casino and no players were found at the scene.

According to Emil Sumangil’s report on “24 Oras” on Monday, there were a total of 15 suspects that the police arrested and the PNP was also able to seize numerous desktop computers and other equipment used to implement their illegal online casino during the two-pronged operation.  

Parties at said locations were unable to present any documentation that they were duly authorized nor legally operating as an online casino entity. The Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) has strict and stringent measures before any business venture is authorized, regulated and permitted to function as an online casino business.  

Laguna Police Provincial Office (PPO) Provincial Director Police Colonel Randy Glen Silvio reiterated: “Nakikipag-coordinate tayo sa PAGCOR at nalaman natin na wala pong kaukulang papel na para po ma-cover itong dalawang illegal online casino.” 

(We coordinated with the PAGCOR and discovered they have no papers covering the two online illegal casinos.)

Lucrative payment scheme kept workers staying on

Workers who were arrested on the scene gave detailed information to the PNP, especially on why they kept staying on despite knowing that the business is illicit, illegal and questionable. 

“Based sa mga na-arrest natin, kumikita sila ng P3,500 a week. Kung matalo ‘yung isang dayo nila ay bibigyan sila ng 50%. So, kung matalo ‘yung isang mananaya ng P1 million, bibigyan sila ng P500,000,” he said.

(Based on the arrests, they earn P3,500 weekly. If a player loses, they get 50%. So if someone loses P1 million, they’ll have P500,000.)

Workers also informed police that they also focus mainly on recruiting more and more players to increase their possible earnings. They were able to identify their potential audience and source contact information in multiple avenues available via the internet.

Silvio also revealed that players are only a click away from being part of an illegal online casino without really knowing if this is a legitimate operation or otherwise. Furthermore, the arrests were only of workers hired to do the tasks and they haven’t been able to entrap master agents and the people who are behind all the operations themselves.

“Mayroong master agent at mayroon siyang mga ahente na kung saan naghahanap ng mga players sa online casino. Mayroong website na pupuntahan at pwede ka na tumaya doon,” he added.

(There’s a master agent and he has agents who find players. They can gamble through a website.)

Links, Social Media Platforms, Email and Text blasts main tools to recruit players

The thriving illegal online casino business used links found directly on the sites, text blasts with the links provided in the messages as well as emails sent to potential players. They have remained undetected for some time and were able to increase their audience significantly. 

For its part, the PNP Anti-Cybercrime Group (ACG) said the links were related to the text scam messages plaguing the country.

“Mayroong mga text blasts, eh. That’s one way. And it can also be in the form of emails, pwede rin yan o mga social messaging applications. We constantly monitor… we do cyber-controlling. Tulungan ang mga telcos, ACG as well the ICT and other counterparts para once and for all, ma stop itong mga fraudsters na to,” PNP-ACG Spokesperson Police lieutenant Michelle Sabino said.

(There are text blasts. That’s one way. And it can also be in the form of emails or social messaging applications. We constantly monitor… we do cyber-controlling. The telcos, ACG, ICT, and other counterparts are working together to stop these fraudsters once and for all.)

You might also want to read: Former Manila Jockey Club Track Transformed into new Winford Casino Resort

This piece of news is disheartening but at the same time, it also shows how measures are being taken by the government to make the gaming environment safe for all of us. This also proves how important the pending SIM registration is, too. Hopefully, the questionable entities behind illegal online gambling won’t find a workaround on RA 11934. Comment below dear readers on any insight, reaction or feedback on this matter. Hope to hear from you guys, soon. Thanks!

Source: GMA News

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