Duterte to decide on China’s proposal to ban online gambling

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MANILA — Malacañang will leave it to President Rodrigo Duterte to decide whether he would heed China’s suggestion to ban all online gambling in the Philippines.

“We will have to ask the President on his policy on this. Hindi natin alam kung may possibility or walang possibility (We don’t know if there is a possibility for a total ban or not), we will have to ask the President,” Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo said in a phone interview with reporters on Wednesday.

On Tuesday, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang said China appreciated the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp.’s (Pagcor) decision to suspend all new applications for Philippine Offshore Gaming Operations (POGO).

“We hope the Philippines will go further and ban all online gambling,” Geng said.

The Chinese official said Beijing viewed online gambling as the “most dangerous tumor in modern society detested by people all across the world.”

He expressed hope that the Philippines “will further strengthen law enforcement with China and jointly tackle criminal activities, including online gambling and cyber fraud.”

Panelo said because POGOs continue to be considered legal in the Philippines, banning them completely has yet to be seen.

“Sa ngayon kasi di ba (Currently) online gambling is legal in this country but I understand Pagcor has already stopped accepting applications,” Panelo said.

Panelo earlier said Duterte is backing Pagcor’s decision to stop accepting POGO licenses until all concerns have been addressed.

However, Panelo noted that POGOs remain as a “legitimate revenue-making” project in the country.

Pagcor decided to stop accepting new applications for POGO after lawmakers warned that the proliferation of online gaming operations could have security and labor repercussions. -PNA

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