With proliferation of Internet gambling, bill calls for regulation

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A lawmaker is calling for the regulation of online gambling, stressing that easy access to the Internet has exposed minors to gambling.

Act-CIS party-list representative Samuel D. Pagdilao has filed House Bill 4540, which seeks the regulation of Internet gambling in the Philippines and providing penalties for its violation.

Online gambling hubs under the brand name e-Games have sprouted all over the country
Online gambling hubs under the brand name e-Games have sprouted all over the country

Pagdilao said at present, there is no existing law to monitor Internet gambling and to protect minors from the pernicious effects of gambling.

Over the last few years, legalized online gambling hubs authorized by Pagcor have sprouted all over the country. The gambling centers, operated by PhilWeb under the brand name e-Games, have raked in huge revenues from local folks eager to try out the Internet version of casino games such as poker and baccarat.

The introduction of the Internet has had a great impact on the ways people could participate in gambling, according to Pagdilao.

“People are no longer bound to physical locations and are able to face their bets from within their own homes,” Pagdilao said.

The bill provides the penalty of imprisonment from five years to 10 years or a fine ranging from P5 million to P10 million or both shall 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.

Under the measure, a licensee refers to the duly licensed holder of an Internet Gaming Certificate authorized by the Pagcor (board) to conduct Internet gaming.

Internet gaming, on the other hand, is defined as the placing of bets or wagers with licensee located in this jurisdiction using a computer network through which a licensee may offer authorized Internet games to individuals who have registered and established an Internet gaming account with the licensee.

Likewise, the penalty of imprisonment from 5 years to 10 years or a fine of P100,000 or both shall be imposed upon any parent, guardian or person exercising moral authority or ascendancy over a minor, ward or incapacitated person, who induces or causes them to commit any of the offenses punishable under the proposed law.

The Pagdilao proposal states that a person who is 18 years of age or older is permitted to participate as a registered player in Internet gaming activities and wagering associated with playing an Internet game offered by a licensee in this in accordance with the regulations of the board.

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