Duterte steps up fight vs illegal gambling


President Rodrigo Duterte has ordered intensified government’s fight against illegal gambling, which he described as a “social menace” that breeds corruption.

Duterte signed Executive Order 13 on February 2 that mobilized government agencies, particularly the Philippine National Police and the National Bureau of Investigation, to “intensify the fight against illegal gambling.”

“The same law enforcement agencies are further directed to coordinate and promptly act on requests of gambling regulatory authorities to investigate and put a stop to illegal gambling activities in their respective jurisdictions,” the President said.

“The State condemns the existence of illegal gambling as a widespread social menace and source of corruption, as it has become an influential factor in an individual’s disregard for the value of dignified work, perseverance and thrift,” he added.

The President’s order came as lawmakers investigate allegations that Chinese junket tycoon Jack Lam tried to bribe government officials to allow him to operate an illegal online casino.

Aside from recognizing the authority of the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) to operate and license gambling casinos, the order recognized freeport zones Aurora Pacific Economic Zone and Free Port Authority (APECO), Cagayan Economic Zone Authority, Authority of the Freeport Area of Bataan as authorized to operate gambling facilities or give license to operators.

Section 3 of the EO clarified that in the case of online gambling, licensed online gambling operators are prohibited from letting persons “physically located outside the territorial jurisdiction” of the licensing authorities like PAGCOR and the freeport zones to participate in the games, whether through an online portal or similar means.

But the participation of players “physically located outside Philippine territory” is allowed, it added.


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