PAGCOR Disagrees with Quezon City on Philippines Gambling Laws
The Philippines’ government can’t seem to agree on a set of laws for the gambling industry. Technically speaking, the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) is responsible for establishing gambling regulations in the country. Recently, officials in Quezon City have tried setting their own gaming laws. PAGCOR is now making it clear that it’s the only group capable of changing any Philippines gambling laws.
It’s a strange situation with many layers. We’re going to take a close look at the current set of gambling laws in the Philippines and discuss what caused the current disagreement between PAGCOR and lawmakers in Quezon City.
Online and Land-Based Philippines Gambling Laws
The Philippines has made some major changes to its gambling laws over the years. In 1976, the government here created PAGCOR to oversee the gambling industry. This government body was responsible for licensing the country’s gambling operators and collecting revenue from state-run casinos.
PAGCOR is also responsible for overseeing the country’s online gambling industry. The laws in this sector are a little strange. The Cagayan Freeport area of the Philippines is the only part of this country that does not fall under PAGCOR control. Here, the online gambling industry is completely open to everyone. Online gambling anywhere else in the country was banned for many years.
Philippines gambling laws state that foreign gaming sites can obtain a license to operate in the country. These licenses are very difficult to actually obtain. As a result, many Filipinos choose to play through different online gambling sites based in Europe.
The laws surrounding the gambling industry are changing all the time. President Duterte has made it clear he’s not exactly a fan of gambling, yet the massive revenue this industry is bringing in may change his mind. So why is PAGCOR arguing with certain lawmakers?
Quezon City Vice Mayor Flip Flops on Casino Approval
Joy Belmonte can’t solidify her opinion over casino gambling. At first, she gave her approval for the Bloomberry Casino to be constructed inside the city. Later, she announced a proposal to add a number of restrictions on this casino.
This seems to be rubbing PAGCOR the wrong way. In a recent statement, the group claimed that it “maintains its position that local government units (LGU) do not have the authority to regulate games of chance even in their localities. Instead, this function is a mandate of PAGCOR by virtue of its charter, Presidential Decree 1869.” PAGCOR is making it clear that they have control over the Philippines gambling laws.
This government body also commented on the plans for new regulations by stating,
“If the local government of Quezon City abhors gambling — so as to create measures that are beyond its power — it should not have issued Bloomberry Resorts Corp. a Letter of No Objection (LONO) and Resolution of No Objection.”
What Is the Quezon City Vice Mayor Proposing?
Joy Belmonte’s recent proposal seems to be aimed at preventing problem gambling. Her plans included adding an entry fee for any visitors to the casino. Most analysts predict this will significantly lower the revenue this casino earns.
It makes sense for PAGCOR to push back against any new regulations. They’ve been earning significant amounts of money in recent years from the casino industry. Many experts predict the industry will grow by 9% this year alone.
The success of the Philippines casino industry is likely a reason why many nearby countries such as Japan and Cambodia are investing so heavily into casinos right now. With Macau revenue falling, now is a fantastic time for other Asian countries to enter into the market.
As we mentioned earlier, PAGCOR still maintains control over the Philippines gambling laws. They’ve made it clear that lawmakers in Quezon City missed their opportunity to call for regulations. It seems likely that this casino will be constructed with no issues. Bloomberry has not given an official statement on the matter.
Do you think PAGCOR has too much control over the Philippines gambling laws? Will Quezon City implement its restrictions on the Bloomberry casino? Let us know what you think in the comment section below!
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