In the Philippines, a political leader has presented legislation to revoke the nation’s online gambling licensing program and make iGaming a criminal punishable by up to six months in prison.

Distributing iGaming services would also be a crime.

Joel Villanueva, who serves as the Majority Leader for the Philippines Senate and submitted his proposed Senate Bill 1281 last week amid growing concern over crimes associated with his country’s Philippine Offshore Gaming Operator (POGO) licensing program, was quoted in a report that appeared in the Manila Bulletin newspaper on Monday. The independent member reportedly said that his bill, which is being referred to informally as the Anti-Online Gambling Act, is required because the effects of iGaming have recently grown “too severe to be ignored.” This phrase was used to describe a recent trend in the industry.

Disputes That Have Not Yet Been Resolved:

After launching its POGO licensing regime in 2016, the Philippines went on to certify more than 60 businesses to offer iGaming entertainment to punters located in other countries. However, as a result of the economic downturn brought on by the coronavirus pandemic, this number was reduced to approximately 26. Nevertheless, these businesses have recently become increasingly associated with the practice of obtaining a low-cost workforce by the kidnapping of foreign nationals, while the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCor) regulator has recently rescued over 180 people who had been made to labor for little or no pay.

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Prominent Problems:

Villanueva reportedly further cited the case of a 19-year-old student in Davao de Oro Province who was arrested in October after running up an untenable debt of approximately $8,680 from online cock-fighting wagers. Online cock-fighting wagers are commonly referred to in the region as “e-sabong.” Villanueva reportedly filed his legislation and cited the case. The lawmaker, who is 47 years old, went on to cite the results of a recent investigation that was conducted by the Philippines Senate’s Labor, Employment and Human Resources Development Committee. According to those findings, the increase in POGO licenses had “resulted in rising criminality including prostitution and increased threat of money laundering among other things.”

It has been reported that Villanueva said…

“These conditions illustrate, among other things, that the social cost of igaming is too great; bankruptcies, destroyed families, and criminal activities are just some of them.”

Dire Damages:

Because of its part, the GMA Network Incorporated news service used a Monday report of its own to detail that Villanueva’s regulation aims to make online gambling illegal in the Philippines while simultaneously abandoning the POGO licensing regime. This information was provided by the GMA Network Incorporated news service. In addition, if passed into law, Senate Bill 1281 would supposedly implement a stringent punishment system for those who are afterward found guilty of gambling over the internet. This system would include prison terms of up to six months and penalties that may reach up to $8,600.

It has been claimed that Villanueva issued a statement that read…

“This bill seeks to prohibit igaming and the placing of wagers or bets through the Internet or any form of online gambling activities in order to prevent further deterioration of morals and values, encourage people to work instead of relying on a game of chance, put an end to addictions, and save lives.”

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