The casino regulator in the Philippines has put forward new rules ordering the closure of any gaming site in the country where people under 21 are detected gambling.
The new rules are to take effect on January 1, 2018. A document setting them out was approved by the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp – also known as Pagcor – on December 6. It was made publicly available online on Thursday. It made no mention of whether the closure option was a maximum sanction or the only sanction on operators for allowing underage people inside a gaming venue.
The document also stated that gaming locations face a penalty of PHP100,000 (US$1,980) per entry per individual classified as a ‘prohibited person’ – i.e. people “not allowed to play” at such venues under Pagcor’s Responsible Gaming Code of Practice.
The code labels as ‘prohibited persons’ the following: “government officials connected directly with the operation of the [Philippine] government or any of its agencies”; “immediate relatives (parents, spouse and children) of government officials”; “members of the armed forces of the Philippines”; “gaming employment licence holders directly or indirectly involved in gaming operations”; and people included in a national database of restricted persons.
Previous Pagcor documents – including the 1983 act establishing the regulator – had outlined categories of people barred from gambling. It is unclear from GGRAsia’s enquiries if any direct penalties in case of violation had ever previously been set by Pagcor.
A 2016 memorandum circular issued by Philippine government executive secretary Salvador Medialdea stated “all heads of departments, bureaus and offices, government-owned or controlled corporations and local governments” should “impose the appropriate sanctions and penalties in case of violation” by government officials, members of the armed forces and people under 21 years old, of the rules on casino access.
The same circular stated Pagcor should “ensure strict observance” by all government officials of such rules.
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