Sun. Mar 29th, 2020

Philippines: Gambling Will Be Legalized

4 min read

In Germany, too, the Philippines has often been the subject of reports in recent months. The reason for this is above all president Rodrigo Duterte, who can be called Hardliner in almost any political regard. If the head of state sets itself only once an idea into the head, this is converted in all rule also under all circumstances. Somewhat different, and therefore quite surprising, is the situation in the fight Dutertes against gambling in the Philippines. For a long time, the president was considered a great supporter of the industry, but now he seems to be resigning.

Population must decide for itself whether it wants to play

The Philippines with its president Rodrigo Duterte in the past already several times caused a stir. For example, it was Duterte who some time ago insulted former US President Barack Obama in the worst possible way. At the same time, the head of state also got into the press because of his bitter fight against drug dealers in the Philippines. Duterte pursues a zero-tolerance policy against drug dealers, even out-of-court executions are often mentioned. Not quite so drastically, but still consistently, the president has so far also proceeded against gambling in the country . Allegedly the president is to be a large advocate of the gambling, in the past Duterte explained also several times that there will be no legalization of the gambling industry under it. But exactly that seems to change now.

Laut a report of the Manila Times, a renowned Philippine newspaper , should Duterte a direction change with the gambling legalization strive for . The newspaper quotes the head of state as saying:

“This gambling, I won’t interfere anymore. But don’t take part in it! I can’t control it, really. I will therefore allow it. This is not true for blackmail and drugs.”

After a voluntary decision it doesn’t necessarily sound , instead it seems as if Duterte has realized that the fight for a ban on gambling can be described as hopeless. Therefore, as in other countries, in the Philippines it is better to have a regulated, legal market than a non-regulated market in semi-silk. At the same time, a little political calculation could stand behind the decision, because Duterte is currently in the middle of the election campaign for the parliamentary election. The population is largely behind its president, but at the same time it can also be described as a game lover. A topic with which the election campaign can possibly be decisively influenced.

Gambling is important to the Philippines

Gambling in the Philippines has a long tradition and like large parts of the Asian population, the Philippines can be described as very gambling people . For this reason, the country is generally quite well positioned and can at least set up a suitable “infrastructure” for gambling regulation. In concrete terms, this means, for example, that the country’s gambling authority (PAGCOR) has existed for more than 40 years. The authority is responsible for approximately 20 casinos in the country, most of which are located in the capital Manila.

The area of responsibility of the gambling authority lies thereby above all in the examination of the adherence to legal defaults. At the same time, the authority is also responsible for ensuring that the tax revenues of the casinos are regularly forwarded to the relevant state authorities. The problem: Gambling in the Philippines cannot be compared with gambling in Europe or Germany. Also here table games or slot machines are played naturally. At the same time, however, the Philippines attach particular importance to horse racing or cock fights. The latter are particularly popular among the rural population and are difficult for the authorities to control.

Good news for international casino giants?

The change of direction of the actual hardliner should not only provide for discussion within the Philippines, but certainly also beyond national borders. In the past at least two large-scale projects were considered, which had been put on ice by the president without further ado. An example of this would be the “Fall Galaxy Entertainment Group”. The company has officially received a license from the Philippine gaming authorities to open a casino resort on the island of Boracay. So far everything is wonderful. But then the president stepped in and, in principle, immediately before the ground-breaking ceremony, declared that he would not grant any permission to build the casino resort. It was by no means the only case and so Duterte did not necessarily make himself a popular cooperation partner for the gambling companies. Within the own population the decisions were likewise understood suspiciously, nevertheless the Resorts could have created numerous new jobs.

How the cases develop approximately around the building of the Resorts now possibly again, remain to wait only once. Fact is however that Duterte opened the door for the international gambling industry at least a gap far. Hopefully not only due to the lining up elections, but due to a genuine direction change and reorientation. From an economic point of view, the almost built resorts should in any case mean a horrendous advantage for the country. Tourism, which had suffered a little under Duterte in recent months, could be strongly stimulated once again in a completely new direction. In addition, several jobs and probably also horrendous financial income could be planned.

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