Regulating Internet Gambling in RP

By Gica, Ivar | Manila Bulletin, September 12, 2000 | Go to article overview

Regulating Internet Gambling in RP


Gica, Ivar, Manila Bulletin


ONE of the world famous and fashionable gambling casinos in the world is located in San Remo in the Liguarian Sea area of Italy's northwest. More specifically, it is in the Italian Riviera, east of Monaco, and is one of the several strategically placed casinos north of Italy that shares borders with Monaco, France, Switzerland, Austria, Hungary and the Czech Republic where casinos abound.

And why their collocation is considered strategic is that the Italian government decided to arrest the outflow of the lira that gamblers pouring out of Italy carry with them to the gambling joints in those border states. So, to stop this across-border gambling, the government encouraged gambling casinos inside Italy.

This is no different from the situation in Detroit, USA. Detroit residents and those from its neighboring states crossed the border to play in the casinos in Canada. When Detroit allowed casinos to operate in that state, Canada-ward gaming business was unobtrusively wrangled by Detroit.

We face the same situation with internet gaming. There are about 800 internet casino websites run by some 200 companies worldwide and some Filipinos here and abroad play in this online gaming, remitting losses in dollars to them. Additionally, Filipino players are not protected in disputes between players and online operators such as of operators not paying out to winners. This assurance of protection is not present since they hook up and play in foreignbased online gaming sites.

By allowing a locally-based online gaming website, internet gamblers, particularly local players, now have an alternative gaming site where proper safeguards have been adopted to protect their interest, ensure the integrity of the games, and guard against fraud. The absence of a regulated internet gaming facility will only leave local players no choice but to place their bets in offshore-based online gaming sites which may deprive them from getting a fair deal.

Among the safeguards provided by the Philippine Amusement & Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) and the Sports & Games Entertainment Corp (SAGE), the all-Filipino firm that the government has authorized to operate online gaming, include the following:

* SAGE has a built-in mechanism to screen players and prevent minors from playing. Users are required to fill in an online form wherein date of birth is indicated. …

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