Villanueva bill bans online gambling: ‘Social cost of gambling is too high’
MANILA, Philippines — Senate Majority Leader Joel Villanueva is pushing for the immediate passage of his bill that would prohibit and penalize any form of online gambling activities in the country.
Through Senate Bill No. 1281,Villanueva wants to outlaw any and all forms of online gambling, including betting and wagering conducted over the internet.
“The consequences of gambling and online gambling are too severe to be ignored. The cost of gambling is no longer limited to the loss of money, but extends to the loss of values and lives,” he said in his explanatory note of the bill filed last September 6.
Villanueva cited as example the case of a 19-year-old student in Davao de Oro who was arrested by the police when he was unable to pay more than P500,000 in bet money for online cockfighting or e-sabong.
He also mentioned the 34 persons earlier reported abducted because of their involvement in e- sabong.
“These circumstances also show that the social cost of gambling is too high — bankruptcy, broken families, and criminal activities, among others,” the senator pointed out.
If passed into law, violators could face up to five years of imprisonment and a fine not exceeding P500,000.
The maximum penalty will be imposed if the offender is a public officer or employee or “if such public officer or employee promotes, encourages, aids or abets the promotion or conduct of online gambling,” according to the bill.
“In addition, he/she shall be dismissed from the public service and shall suffer the penalty of perpetual disqualification from holding any public office,” it further said.
The latest reports of kidnapping cases in the country were linked to Philippine offshore gaming operators (POGOs).
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.