It is high time that authorities look closely into the immigration status and activities of foreign nationals engaged in unlicensed online gambling operations in Clark Special Economic Zone in Angeles City and Subic Bay Freeport Zone in Zambales.
My sources at the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) said businessman Jack Lam and his Chinese and Korean friends have been operating their clandestine online casino at the Fontana Leisure and Water Park in the former Clark Field.
The mafia-like syndicate also carries out its unlicensed operations in the former US naval base in Subic Bay.
Lam is licensed only to operate land-based casino resorts but he allegedly enjoys the protection of some corrupt officials of the Clark Development Corporation (CDC) in Angeles and the Subic Bay Management Authority (SBMA) in Zambales.
The Macau-based casino godfather also allegedly has the “right connection” in Malacañang.
The lack of necessary licenses from PAGCOR renders illegal Lam’s online gambling business although these gambling lords insist that laws are lacking in order to prohibit their operations in the country.
PAGCOR is mandated by law to regulate all forms of gambling operations in the country, with the exception of those under the jurisdiction of the Cagayan Special Export Zone Authority (CSEZA).
It should be noted that online gaming licenses are issued provided the operators cater to the overseas market, to operate more like local call centers.
Neither the CDC nor the SBMA can issue such licenses the same way that PAGCOR can.
Also, the CDC and SBMA are not mandated to issue work visas the same way the CSEZA can.
According to well-placed sources, Lam is not authorized to issue “sub-licenses” to any Chinese, Korean nationals or any foreigners to engage in this type of venture.
National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) officials told me that most foreigners engaged in Lam’s racket are holders of non-business visitor visas and have no work permits.
NBI, as well as the Bureau of Immigration (BI), have in fact apprehended a number of these foreigners but Lam’s illegal operations have thrived with the protection of CDC, SBMA and Malacañang officials on his “payroll.”
As more and more Filipinos get hooked to this form of vice, the syndicate has reportedly launched operations in Metro Manila, particularly in Pasig City and Makati City.
We challenge the Department of Justice under the leadership of Secretary Leila de Lima to take a closer look at this online gambling godfather’s operations under Chinese and Korean nationals, who may turn out to be undesirable aliens.