124 online gaming licenses revoked
CLARK FREEPORT—The Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (Pagcor) has already revoked 124 online gaming licenses as it enforces President Duterte’s order to stop internet-based gambling operations catering to Filipino clients.
The agency’s new head said Pagcor stands to lose up to P10 billion as a result, but does not expect it to chip away at the agency’s revenue target of P50 billion next year.
Andrea Domingo, Pagcor president and chief executive officer, said an executive order setting policy on online gaming is being readied.
The projected losses, Domingo said, would be felt once Pagcor does not renew the licenses of 302 e-Games stations and 324 e-Bingo outlets. These cater to local bettors.
Domingo discussed Mr. Duterte’s new directives at a forum organized by the Capampangan in Media Inc. (Cami) at the Midori Hotel here on Friday.
She said Pagcor has already revoked 124 licenses of companies that did not have required gaming stations. E-Games outlets offer electronic card games, table games, video poker and slot machines.
A task force against illegal gambling, she said, would be established in a meeting with the Gaming and Amusement Board, Philippine National Police and the National Bureau of Investigation next week, Domingo said.
A plan is also being discussed about merging the Pagcor and the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office, but Domingo said this would need legislation.
Pagcor runs 11 casinos with 45 satellites facilities and regulates 11 private casinos.
A large chunk of Pagcor revenues goes to an account called “Contributions to Nation Building.” Based on a report it posted on its website, 5 percent of Pagcor’s P17.4 billion income for the last six months paid for a franchise tax of P1.3 billion, while 50 percent represented a government share of P12.4 billion.
Pagcor also appropriated amounts for the following agencies: the Dangerous Drugs Board (P30 million), the Philippine Sports Commission’s 5 percent share (P619.5 million), host cities’ share (P245.1 million), direct assistance to socio-civic and other projects (P2.5 billion), and the Board of Claims’ 1 percent share (P22.3 million).
It allocated P50 million for the National Endowment for Culture and the Arts, P250 million for Early Childhood and Development, and P9.5 million as its mandated contributions to the national government.
Pagcor’s income tax was P8.1 million.
The Aquino administration used P12 billion of Pagcor funds on 7,000 classrooms.
Domingo said Mr. Duterte intends to use all the agency’s income on health projects. She has proposed turning over Pagcor’s income as a single fund to the Bureau of Treasury so the money would be disbursed according to the general appropriations act.
“Pagcor, in promoting responsible gaming, treats casinos not as stand-alone projects but as part of a whole package of entertainment,” she told the Cami members.
Domingo said Pagcor was drafting more stringent policies and was monitoring its 11,450 employees.
She cited an instance when an employee allowed a 17-year-old boy to play at one of the agency’s casinos and treated him like a VIP complete with a concierge. Only players 21 and above are allowed in Pagcor-run and regulated casinos.
Pagcor is also scheduled to complete on Aug. 1 a location map of all licensed gaming facilities to determine their distance from schools and churches, Domingo said.
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