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Two Manila Congressmen seek to eliminate illegal gambling, POGOs

Two Manila Congressmen are pushing to eradicate online and text message gambling, highlighting its detrimental effects on the poor and young due to easy access.

Speaking at the ‘MACHRA Balitaan’ of the Manila City Hall Reporters’ Association, Congressmen Ernix Dionisio (1st district) and Irwin Tieng (5th district) expressed their goal to eliminate all illegal gambling forms and work on a formal, perpetual ban on Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators (POGOs) through legislation.

Dionisio emphasized that gambling should be restricted to casinos for adults with money, preventing the poor and young from getting hooked and resorting to extreme measures, like borrowing from loan sharks or committing crimes to sustain their habits.

“Gambling should be limited only to those who go to the casinos. It should not be accessible, especially to children who even gamble their lunch money,” Dionisio stated.

Congressman Tieng mentioned writing to a major telecommunications company, demanding an explanation for sending gambling-related text messages to subscribers, including minors, which only required clicking a link to access online gambling.

Both Congressmen also stressed that a POGO ban must be formalized and institutionalized through legislation.

Dionisio pointed out that the negative impact of POGOs far outweighs any benefits, stating there are many other ways to generate funds. “Corruption increases, few become rich, benefits are selective, and they only give small amounts to the community,” he claimed.

Tieng also highlighted the unruly behavior and crimes committed by those involved in some POGO operations, stating that such activities should not be allowed in the country. He cited numerous crimes associated with POGO operations, as exposed by law enforcement efforts.

Additionally, Dionisio indicated his support for Senate President Chiz Escudero’s stance that the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) should solely serve as a regulatory body and not participate in gambling operations.

Separately, Philippine Senator Sherwin Gatchalian has already introduced a bill to ban Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators (POGOs), citing rising criminality linked to the industry.

Frank Schuengel
Frank Schuengel
Frank Schuengel is an online gambling industry veteran with over twenty years of experience in Europe and Asia. Equally at home in the Isle of Man and the Philippines, he started his career as a sports trader before setting up and running whole operations, and more recently focusing on the regulatory and licensing side of things in the worlds of fiat and crypto eGaming. When he is not writing about gambling topics, he can be found cycling around Manila and advocating sustainable transport solutions for a Philippines based mobility magazine.

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