PAGCOR announces new gambling restrictions

By Robert Simmons
The Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) have announced the introduction of new rules prohibiting certain groups from entering its casinos, with the casino’s potentially facing severe sanctions for any infractions.

Under the new rules, which take effect from the 1 January 2018, any PAGCOR operated and regulated casino which knowingly or unknowingly admits an individual under the age of 21, which is later found to have done so by regulators will be closed immediately.

In addition, ‘loan sharks’ will also be prohibited from entering PAGCOR casinos under the new rules to crackdown on these individuals potentially targeting casino gamblers.

Provisions introduced under PAGCOR’s responsible gaming code of practice version five also state that any casino admitting prohibited persons will face a penalty of PHP 100,000 (US$1,980).

The document goes on to define these prohibited persons as: government officials connected directly with the operation of the government or any of its agencies, immediate relatives (parents, spouse and children) of government officials, members of the armed forces including the army, navy, air force and the Philippine national police and gaming employment license holders directly or indirectly involved in gaming operations.

Any persons already included in the national database of restricted persons (NDRP) will also be prohibited from entering PAGCOR casinos.

However, PAGCOR’s days as both casino operator and regulator are largely numbered following the proposal of a bill last month in the Philippine House of Representatives that will see it turned into a purely regulatory entity. It is hoped that this move will end any speculation of a conflict of interest between the two roles.

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 the Philippine Amusements and Gaming Authority (PAGA), with some of those entities being dissolved as a result.


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