Baguio dad proposes regulation of e-gambling, other games

BAGUIO CITY — To ensure that government will not be deprived of taxes, prevent corruption and deter crimes from happening due to the operation of illegal e-gambling activities in the city, a city councilor here has proposed stringent regulation sfor operators to comply with.

Councilor Edgar Avila, in a telephone interview on Thursday morning, said that while the national government regulates the activity through the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR), the legal e-gambling operators must be subjected to close scrutiny and control by the city government.

He said the city has police power and can use it to regulate and govern over the establishments operating PAGCOR-sanctioned games.

“This would not usurp but complement PAGCOR’S regulatory authority at the national level,” he clarified.

The proposed ordinance to be called, “Comprehensive ordinance governing E-Gambling,” aims to establish a code of practice for responsible gambling, with penalties for violations.

Avila added that special permits will be required for e-casinos, e-bingo, cockfights, online sports betting, e-games, with a more stringent procedure in place to discourage others from operating such activities that will lead to proliferation of these establishments in the city. He added changing lifestyles and new technologies make gambling easily available for everyone.

“We need to come up with tougher safeguards and rules against the toll of gambling on our residents’ welfare, particularly the youth,” the councilor said.

After the 1990 collapse of the then Hyatt Hotel which had a casino, the city residents have been opposing any casino or gambling from operating in the city. However, they were unable to control e-gambling due to its accessibility through computers and even cellular phones.

Once approved, only non-minors with a show money of PHP5,000 after paying of an entrance fee can be allowed in e-bingo shops, cockpits and similar establishments.