QC Council approves ordinance seeking to regulate gambling

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THE Quezon City (QC) Council recently approved an ordinance seeking to regulate gaming firms operating within the city, which includes the collection of entry fees to minimize residents’ access to casinos, as well as e-games and e-bingo hubs.

In a social media post, the QC Council said it has approved City Ordinance 2773-201 which will create the Gambling Regulatory Advisory Council, adopt gambling operations regulation policies, and set up a 24-hour gaming problem helpline.

The ordinance has been forwarded to the office of the mayor for final approval, according to QC Councilor Franz S. Pumaren.

According to the Local Government Code, the city mayor has 10 days to either approve or veto an ordinance. If approved, the ordinance shall take effect 10 days after the ordinance is posted in the City Hall and published in general circulations.

The ordinance was proposed by Mr. Pumaren and Councilors Ivy Xenia L. Lagman, Alexis R. Herrera, Raquel S. Malañgen, Marvin C. Rillo, and Godofredo T. Liban II. It was aimed at protecting the mental health of people against gambling addiction and maintain peace and order.

Under the ordinance, the Gambling Regulatory Advisory Council will evaluate gambling operations and oversee the implementation of the ordinance with the help of the QC police, the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (PAGCOR). The council can also conduct random inspections of gaming operations for monitoring and evaluation.

The ordinance will also require QC residents to pay P1,500 if they want to play at a casino. Residents will also have to shell out P500 to play at e-games outlet; and P100 at an e-bingo outlet for every consecutive period of 24 hours. Residents have to pay a P30,000 fee if the gambling establishment offers an annual membership.

The QC ordinance was modeled after that of Singapore, which also restricts locals’ access to its integrated casino-resorts.

PAGCOR had already expressed its opposition to the ordinance when it was first proposed.

“The provisions in the law are clear. PAGCOR is vested the authority to ensure that proper regulations are in place so as not to endanger the interests of the country — including cities and LGUs (local government units),” PAGCOR said last March, citing among others Presidential Decree No. 771, which revoked the authority of LGUs to issue licenses and permits for gambling operations.

Listed Bloomberry Resorts Corp. is set to build the Solaire Casino on a 1.57 hectare site at the Ayala Vertis North Complex in Quezon City. — VMV