Duterte wants to close down online gambling
President Duterte on Thursday said he wants to close down all online gambling operations in the country, saying they have no positive effects on the economy.
“I am ordering the closure of all online gaming. All of it. It has no use,” Mr. Duterte said in a speech in Malacañang after signing the 2017 general appropriations act.
He gave no timeframe for such a ban or details on its scope.
Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II said the President recently ordered him to look into the operations of these online gambling firms.
Malacañang is drafting the order to define the scope of his authority to investigate online gambling, Aguirre told reporters in an interview at the Palace.
He said the closure of these firms would be based on the results of his probe.
Mr. Duterte justified the closure of these firms because while their operations are in the Philippines, the betting is done outside the country.
He said he had a “white paper” on the online gambling firms’ operation, which he intends to make public.
He also has an order to arrest gambling tycoon Jack Lam, who ran the Fontana Leisure Parks and Casino, he said.
Lam ran into trouble after authorities discovered that he hired illegal Chinese workers for his online gaming firm, and that his online gaming casino had no license.
Mr. Duterte in August railed against online gambling operations, and named one of its operators, businessman Roberto Ongpin, as an oligarch that he wants to destroy.
The Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. subsequently declined to renew the license of Ongpin’s Philweb Corp.
But the President also said in August that online gambling could return if certain conditions were met, such as the payment of the correct taxes, and the relocation of such operations in the proper areas—those that are not near churches or schools.
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