Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has signed an executive order in a bid to clarify his government’s stance on online gambling.
Executive Order No. 13 was signed on 2nd February and is designed to equip the government in its fight against a flourishing illegal gambling market.
As CalvinAyre.com explained, the order acknowledged that there are multiple gaming licensing jurisdictions within the Philippines, including the Cagayan Economic Zone Authority (CEZA), the Aurora Pacific Economic Zone and Freeport Authority, the Authority of the Freeport Area of Bataan, as well as the country’s national regulator PAGCOR.
In seeking to ensure that regulators “act within the bounds of their respective mandates”, the order goes on to define illegal gambling as including any activity not explicitly authorized by an operator’s licensing authority.
Furthermore, it states that “all gambling activities, and activities and services directly or indirectly related to or in support of such gambling activities, conducted beyond the territorial jurisdiction of the government authority which issued the license therefore.”
Duterte’s order has already added teeth to efforts by the state-run Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) to fight illegal numbers game operators. Indeed, on Tuesday 7th March, PCSO general manager Alexander Balutan ordered Meridien Vista Gaming Corp (MVGC) to cease offering numbers games in Albay province.
The order also issues further clarification on online gambling: “No duly licensed online gambling operator, or provider of activities and services related to or in support of online gambling activities, shall directly or indirectly allow persons who are physically located outside the territorial jurisdiction of the licensing authority to place bets, or in any way participate, in the games conducted by such operator, whether through an online portal or similar means.
“Nothing herein, however, shall prohibit the duly licensed online gambling operator from allowing the participation of persons physically located outside Philippine territory.”
The Philippines has long prohibited locally licensed online gambling operators from serving domestic punters, so the above restriction merely reinforces an existing rule. But while the door to local punters may be shut, the window to the rest of the world’s gamblers remains open, whether one holds a POGO license or one issued by the other Philippine gaming jurisdictions.