PAGCOR no more under new Philippine bill

By Robert Simmons
A legislator in the Philippine House of Representatives has tabled a bill that will see the country's gambling regulator, PAGCOR (Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation) turned into a ‘purely regulatory’ entity.

House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez co-authored House Bill 6514, a bill that would consolidate all gaming regulatory functions into PACGOR and rename it as the Philippine Amusements and Gaming Authority (PAGA).

The bill also includes a provision that licensed operators will have to pay a 5% tax on their gross earnings, with the proceeds being used to fund charitable initiatives around the Philippines.

Bill 6514 would also see PAGCOR stripped of its functions as a gambling operator, a move which is hoped will end any speculation of a conflict of interest; the body has previously come under fire for being both regulator and operator.

As a consequence of this reorganisation, regulatory functions currently carried out by the Gaming and Amusement Board, the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office, as well as by a number of Philippine special economic zones will be combined in PAGA, with some of those entities being dissolved as a result.

Its new responsibilities will include the monitoring and control of gambling services in the Philippines to ensure that only licensed operators conduct business within the country’s borders. However in a move that may divide opinion, PAGCOR will be stripped of its licensing powers with those powers being transferred to the Philippine legislature. This could mean significantly longer wait times for licensing activities and added bureaucracy.

The House Game and Amusement Committee will begin holding hearings into the new proposal commencing today, 27 November.


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