The Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp (Pagcor), the country’s gaming regulator, vowed on Thursday to boost casino surveillance and enable information sharing among operators to curb loan sharking-related kidnappings.
In a statement quoted by Philippines media, the regulator said it would introduce facial recognition cameras and increase security personnel at casinos.
“We likewise intend to accredit and regulate casino financiers subject to the implementing rules and regulations on lending companies,” Pagcor said.
The regulator stated it was working with the country’s central bank; the local Securities and Exchange Commission; and other regulatory agencies to draft the necessary protocols to ensure the illicit trade was curbed.
The measures were announced after the regulator held a meeting with licensed casino operators and representatives of the Bureau of Immigration and the Philippine National Police Anti-Kidnapping Group.
The Manila Bulletin newspaper last week reported the deployment of at least two special teams of the Anti-Kidnapping Group to combat casino-related kidnappings in the country’s capital Manila.
Earlier this month Philippine National Police had expressed concern over an increase in the number of casino-related kidnapping cases in the country.
The force linked the rise to an increase in the number of casino operations in the country and of Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators (POGOs), which were attracting more foreigners to the Philippines.
Since 2017, the Philippine police have recorded more than 50 cases of casino-related kidnappings and arrested more than 100 Chinese nationals suspected of kidnapping offences, according to data from the force.
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