MANILA — ACT-CIS party list Representative Samuel Pagdilao Jr., on Tuesday seeks to regulate the wanton proliferation of online gambling in the country in order to protect minors from engaging in this modern form of gambling.
In his House Bill 4540 also known as the Internet Gambling Regulatory Act of 2014, Pagdilao said that he wants to regulate the operation of online gambling in the Philippines and penalize violators.
The former police general turned politician said that unlike land-based electronic gambling such as e-games and casinos where gamblers have to visit gambling dens to place their bets, online gambling can be done inside one’s home, or working places, or anywhere via mobile phones as long as Internet connection is available.
“Because placing bets online does not require physical presence of a bettor, there is no current safety net to prevent minors and mentally incapacitated from engaging in this vice,” Pagdilao stressed.
He explained that online gambling is not covered by RA 9287, the country’s anti-illegal gambling law. The absence of a law that penalizes this form of gambling gave big time online gambling operators, mostly foreigners, and their local counterparts the free hand to operate at will.
According to Pagdilao, the proliferation of online gambling, which remains unchecked because of the absence of a regulating law, also made the country attractive to cybercrime syndicates. Some of these groups used online gambling as fronts in making the country as their base of operations.
The neophyte solon said it is about time for such law to be enacted in the light of proliferation of online gambling, aside from the threat to national security brought by foreign syndicates who made this country a haven for cybercrime.
He recounts his own experiences in law enforcement especially when he was director of Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) when many of the cases filed by the CIDG anti-cybercrime unit against online gambling operations were dismissed by the courts because of the absence of a law that penalizes online gambling.
Under House Bill 4540, the law will give the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) the authority to regulate online gambling operations, particularly the power to award, revoke, suspend, set conditions or deny the application of anyone who wishes to engage in online gambling operation and the approval of the kind of Internet games to be played online.