A legislator in the Philippines has filed a bill to amend the powers given to Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp (Pagcor), proposing to strip the gaming regulator from licensing casino operators. Giorgidi Aggabao introduced the new bill at the House of Representatives, the country’s lower house of the Congress.
Republic Act 9487, signed in 2007, extended Pagcor’s franchise for another 25 years, giving the casino regulator-cum-operator the authority to license casino and similar gaming venues across the country.
In an explanatory note accompanying the new bill, Mr Aggabao argued that the law “delegated more powers to Pagcor compared to its original mandate – that of operating and maintaining casinos”.
The legislator said the procedures of licensing being implemented by Pagcor “were not transparent”.
“Clearly, with the given additional mandate, Pagcor has encroached with Congressional mandate as provided by the 1987 Constitution. The bill therefore seeks to rectify the situation and proposes to revoke the authority of Pagcor to license casino and gaming club operators,” said the explanatory note.
In addition, the bill also seeks to give back to Congress its supervisory oversight, mandating that the contracts entered by Pagcor be subject to the approval of Congress.
The proposed changes would require the gaming regulator to only “operate and maintain” casinos and similar establishments within the Philippines, while gaming operators would first have to secure a licence from Congress.
GGRAsia approached Pagcor for comment, but received no reply.
The story first appeared in Philippine newspaper BusinessWorld. The media outlet reported that other members of the House of Representatives filed two other bills, also seeking to amend Pagcor’s powers.
The House committee on legislative franchises held a first hearing on Monday, reported BusinessWorld, adding that a technical working group – including representatives from Pagcor – is to be created to consolidate the proposals.
A similar bill was approved on a third and final reading by the lower chamber in 2012, but failed to secure the nod of Senate, BusinessWorld said.
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