SENATOR Leila M. de Lima has filed a resolution seeking to reexamine casino and online gaming regulations to safeguard against the use of gaming companies as fronts for money laundering or fraud.
Senate Resolution No. 953 urged the Senate committee on games and amusement, chaired by Senator Panfilo M. Lacson, to review the regulation of the industry.
Ms. De Lima warned that current policy on monitoring the casino resorts and online gamine sites may make the country susceptible to money laundering, fraud, and other illegal activities.
The senator cited a bribery scandal involving Bureau of Immigration (BI) officials last year as well as the number of Chinese gambling companies and Chinese gamblers in the country.
She said the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (PAGCOR) has authorized the operation of 57 foreign gaming companies, also referred to as Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators (POGOs).
Ms. De Lima said the Senate needed to review the effects of the Philippine gambling industry “from multiple perspectives” to help make policy towards the industry more comprehensive.
She also expressed concerns that dealers, including Filipino women, may be placed at even more risk of sexual harassment and exploitation by online gaming.
She also noted the rise in rents which is crowding out Filipino residents because a number of Chinese workers are taking up residency near POGO offices.
“Apart from its purported positive economic impacts, there are nevertheless lingering questions regarding the social costs of the influx and proliferation of integrated casino entertainment resorts and POGOs within the country,” she said.
“A comprehensive policy that seeks to address these issues should be of utmost importance if this industry is to truly benefit the Filipino people,” she added. — Camille A. Aguinaldo