Philippines: online gambling necessary to boost economy

The Philippines was heavily impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic.
The Philippines was heavily impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Philippine president, Rodrigo Duterte, has said that he allowed online gambling because the country needs money to recover from the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Philippines.- Last year, three operators in Manila were granted licences to develop online casino platforms. Now, the Philippine president, Rodrigo Duterte, has explained why he took the decision to allow the move.

According to the Philippine News Agency, Duterte said: “We don’t have money… Now that we need money, the most sensible thing is really just to encourage those activities.”

In May, PAGCOR reported that Philippine GGR was down 43.9 per cent year-on-year, mainly due to the impact of Covid-19 restrictions.

The possibility of casino gaming on Boracay island has resurfaced in recent weeks after the House of Representatives approved the creation of the Boracay Island Development Authority as a government-owned and controlled corporation (GOCC).

However, the bill was highly criticised by government agencies, local government units, stakeholders and some congressmen who want to protect the island’s environment.

Natividad Bernardino, chairman of the Boracay Inter-Agency Rehabilitation Management Group, said: “The problem of Boracay is one of over-tourism and overdevelopment. 

“What we need in terms of sustaining the rehabilitation and ecological sustainability of the island is a regulatory body instead of a GOCC.”

In June, PAGCOR granted permits to four e-sabong firms to operate in the country. PAGCOR hopes to grant permits for six e-sabong operators as online betting on cockfights has rocketed in the Philippines since cockpits closed to spectators at the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Philippines’ cockfighting industry is believed to be worth just over US$1bn per year.

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