PAGCOR warns users of illegal gambling sites vs fraud, liability

THE STATE-RUN Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (PAGCOR) has warned the public against engaging in illegal gambling websites, citing cybercrime threats as well as the possibility of facing criminal charges.

In a statement on Wednesday, PAGCOR said those who want to gamble should do so on legitimate and licensed electronic gaming sites.

Gambling websites not posted on PAGCOR’s website are considered illegal, it noted.

“Betting on illegal gambling activities is not only a criminal act; it also takes away from the government billions of pesos in revenues which can be used to fund priority programs that will benefit a greater number of Filipinos,” it said.

The government-owned corporation, which is the licensing authority for online gambling and gaming operations, said it earns an estimated P9 million per day from legal businesses.

It said the revenue “supports various poverty-alleviating programs such as the 4Ps, provision of healthcare facilities, construction of school buildings and the training of Philippine national athletes.”

PAGCOR at the same time gave assurance that it is coordinating with law enforcement agencies to prevent the spread of these illegal online gambling outfits.

The statement was issued a day after Pasig Mayor Victor Ma. Regis “Vico” N. Sotto announced that he signed an ordinance that would ban operators of online gambling firms and offshore gaming in the city.

Violators of the ordinance will face a fine of P5,000 and a year of jail time, or both, upon the discretion of a court.

Mr. Sotto said corruption that stemmed from offshore gambling operations was one of the reasons for approving the measure.

Apart from a PAGCOR license, legitimate operators must also secure a business permit from the host local government and pay corresponding local taxes.

“PAGCOR encourages gaming aficionados to take part only in its licensed online-based gaming like the Electronic games (E-Games) and Electronic bingo games (E-Bingo) for a truly enjoyable and safe gaming experience,” PAGCOR said. — John Victor D. Ordoñez