Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation

PAGCOR and four other agencies intensify drive vs. illegal online gambling

Thu | 03.21.2019 | 6:30 PM

PAGCOR and four other agencies intensify drive vs. illegal online gamblingAgency heads of PAGCOR, BI, NBI, PNP and OOC show the signed Mutual Cooperation Agreement.

THE Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) has entered into a Mutual Cooperation Agreement with four government agencies in a fight against illegal online gambling in the country.

PAGCOR joined hands with the Philippine National Police (PNP), National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), Bureau of Immigration (BI) and the Office of Cybercrime (OOC) under the Department of Justice (DOJ) in the creation of an inter-agency council that will handle intelligence gathering, investigations and prosecutions of illegal online gaming activities.

The creation of the inter-agency council was in response to Executive Order (EO) No. 13, s. 2017 issued by President Rodrigo Roa Duterte on February 2, 2017 “to strengthen the fight against illegal gambling and to clarify the jurisdiction and authority of concerned agencies in the regulation and licensing of gambling and online gaming facilities.”

The Office of the President, through its representative Undersecretary Jesus Melchor V. Quitain will oversee the implementation of the E.O., which reinforces PAGCOR’s authority to regulate all games of chance, including online gaming, except those regulated by other regulatory bodies to the extent of their respective jurisdictions.

During a press conference held to formalize the agencies’ commitment in the campaign, PAGCOR Chairman and CEO Andrea Domingo expressed confidence that the government will no longer be robbed of billions worth of revenues from online gambling operations.

“We’ve been doing this for the last two years together with the investigative and enforcement arms of the government like the NBI and the PNP. We provide them with the information as well as certification kung sino ang mga online gaming na mayroong lisensya from PAGCOR at kung sino ang wala, sine-certify namin na wala,” said PAGCOR Chairman and CEO Andrea Domingo.

She added that PAGCOR only used to earn an average of P56 million annually from online gaming operations. “When the current management strengthened PAGCOR’s regulatory authority over Philippine offshore gaming operators (POGO), we immediately saw its significant contributions to PAGCOR’s overall revenues. In 2016, POGO operations generated P657 million followed by P3.924 billion in 2017 and P7.365 billion in 2018,” Domingo cited.

Meanwhile, National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) Director Guillermo Eleazar, who represented PNP chief Oscar Albayalde in the event, said the information they received from PAGCOR have been very vital in the success of their previous operations against unlicensed online gambling operators.

“Lahat ng illegal gambling operators na-certify ng PAGCOR na walang permit nahuli namin. Kung may mga nag-iisip na may pumuprotekta sa mga ito (illegal gambling operators), dapat pag-raid namin, wala kaming aabutan. All our operations against illegal gambling turned out positive. So we appeal to the public to help us by giving us information and other leads,” Eleazar noted.

The inter-agency council – given the respective mandate of each member-agency -- shall be responsible for gathering and sharing of intelligence information on illegal online gambling; exchange information on the developments in their activities; report and centralize data and information gathered on illegal gambling activities; provide manpower for intelligence operations, surveillance, raids, arrest and prosecution.

The council is also tasked to implement their respective investigation procedures including digital forensic examination, gaming license validation, visa certifications and filing of appropriate criminal and administrative charges against online gambling operators.

PAGCOR being the central processing agency of all gathered data is responsible for exercising operational control over the council and its member-agencies. The state-run gaming firm is also duty-bound to provide funds for the projects of the council and its members and provide assistance in accordance with its charter.

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