A legislator in the Philippines has proposed a bill to regulate online gambling activities within the country.
Currently, First Cagayan Leisure & Resort Corp is the exclusive master licensor and regulator of offshore online gaming permits issued by the Cagayan Special Economic Zone, the online gaming jurisdiction operating in the Cagayan Special Economic Zone in the northeastern part of the Philippines.
Anti Crime and Terrorism Community Involvement and Support (ACT-CIS) party member Samuel D. Pagdilao introduced the new bill to the House of Representatives on Monday, according to a statement from the country’s lower house of the Congress.
Mr Pagdilao said House Bill 4540 seeks to monitor Internet gambling “and protect minors from the pernicious effects of gambling”.
“People are no longer bound to physical locations and are able to place their bets from within their own homes,” Mr Pagdilao said while presenting the bill.
The bill defines ‘Internet gaming’ as “the placing of bets or wagers where [the] licensee [is] located in the Philippines using a computer network through which a licensee may offer authorised Internet games to individuals who have registered and established an Internet gaming account with the licensee”.
Mr Pagdilao’s proposal states that a person who is 18 years of age or older is permitted to participate as a registered player in online gambling activities.
If the bill is enacted it would lead to the creation of a regulated market that would include the application of severe fines for those operating outside of its legislative framework.
Operators found guilty of allowing minors on their platforms could be sanctioned with imprisonment from 5 years to 10 years and pay fines ranging from PHP5 million (US$115,286) to PHP10 million. These would be imposed “upon any licensee or employee of a licensee who knowingly allows a person under 18 years of age to open, maintain, or use an Internet gaming account,” according to the statement.
According to the bill, an online gambling operator would have apply for a Internet Gaming Certificate with the state-run Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp (Pagcor). Pagcor would be responsible for regulating the online market.
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