"Now that we need money, the most sensible thing is really just to encourage those activities." - Duterte
After years of opposing online gambling in the country, Philippine president, Rodrigo Duterte, on Wednesday stated he now supports online gambling citing the country’s need to replenish its financial coffers to combat the impacts Covid-19 pandemic.
According to the Philippine News Agency, Duterte expressed: “Why did I allow gambling? We don’t have money.
Now that we need money, the most sensible thing is really just to encourage those activities. Though it may sound repugnant to some, you have to deal with it because we need money for the country,”
Duterte acknowledged that he was previously against the online gambling industry, noting that he even insisted on a no-casino policy in famous resorts in both Boracay and Bohol, citing the reason to prevent Covid-19 from infecting more people in the country.
Duterte added, “When it comes to the pandemic, we’re running out of money. We used up all our reserved funds to contain the viral virus from rampaging all throughout the country,”
Gaming stocks rose on Thursday following Duterte’s comments, bucking the Philippine benchmark stock index’s decline. Bloomberry Resorts Corp., which owns Solaire Resort & Casino, rose 6.5%. Online gambling company PhilWeb Corp. rose 7.5%, while casino operator Leisure & Resorts World Corp. snapped a two-day fall to close 5.7% higher.
The possibility of having gaming properties on Boracay island has reemerged in recent weeks following the creation of Boracay Island Development Authority as a government-owned and controlled corporation (GOCC).
Chairman of the Boracay Inter-Agency Rehabilitation Management Group, Natividad Bernardino, said: “The problem of Boracay is one of over-tourism and overdevelopment.
“What we need in terms of sustaining the rehabilitation and ecological sustainability of the island is a regulatory body instead of a GOCC.” He added.
Philippine Malacañang recognises the POGOs as one of the government’s biggest tax revenue generators. Around 60 POGOs have been secured licensed to operate in the country.
PAGCOR just recently declared that it had turned over P26 million in funding for additional Covid-19 tests used by the University of Philippines (UP) Manila and two other recipients.
In May, PAGCOR reported that Philippine GGR was down 43.9 percent year-on-year, mainly due to the impact of Covid-19 restrictions.
Online betting on cockfights has skyrocketed in the Philippines since PAGCOR granted permits to four e-sabong firms to operate in the country in June, and it hopes to grant permits for six e-sabong operators.
The Philippines’ cockfighting industry is believed to be worth just over US$1bn per year.
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