Over 41,000 Illegal Gambling Arrests in the Philippines
In the Philippines, a committed campaign to eradicate illegal gambling yields impressive results. Since the start of the year, the Philippine National Police (PNP) has made a considerable number of arrests due to operations targeted primarily at illegal gambling.
According to a report published on Tuesday by the Philippine News Agency (PNA), police have detained over 41K persons as part of efforts to target the illicit gaming sector. Online gaming accounted for the majority.
The program is launched at a crucial time for the nation’s gaming industry. While some kinds of online gambling have recently experienced tremendous growth in popularity, they have also been banned due to corruption.
POGOs and eSabong on Warning
Recently, there have been significant issues with both the eSabong and Philippines Offshore Gaming Operator (POGO) divisions. In the past, POGOs brought in millions of cash for the Philippines. However, a plan to increase their tax rate ran into trouble.
That caused many operators to use dubious business practices, such as human trafficking, exploitation, coercion, and other crimes. As a result, the politicians and the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR), the nation’s gaming regulator, started working to eliminate the criminal element.
In the last two years, PAGCOR has suspended dozens of POGO licenses while attempting to preserve the industry’s good name. Legislators are requesting a total ban on POGO, even though the initiative has largely failed.
Online cockfight betting site eSabong has also drawn criticism. The Philippines received millions of dollars in revenue thanks to it as well. But crime destroyed it.
The PNP has been forced to arrest some of its personnel for kidnapping connected to the activity, and there are still pending police investigations about missing people connected to e-Sabong. The end abruptly arrived when a young mother attempted to sell her infant to settle an eSabong gambling debt.
In May 2022, eSabong changed from a permitted activity to a prohibited one. The wagers have nevertheless continued, increasing the pressure on the PNP.
The National Police has been strengthened by Major General Benjamin Acorda, Jr., the new director, to give them more power to halt unlawful gaming. Despite the challenges, the PNP’s Anti-Cybercrime Group has been working extra hard to achieve the objective.
According to his remarks to the PNA, legislation is one of the major. He stressed that the gaming rules don’t cover online gambling sufficiently. Due to this, it is more challenging to pursue what the PNP considers to be violations.
To remedy this, legislative measures are being implemented, but they move slowly. However, the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) and PAGCOR are both providing assistance to the PNP.
The PCSO and PAGCOR are supporting the police in their campaign of repression. The PCSO, a division of the Office of the President, raises money for government health initiatives through lotteries and sweepstakes. As a result, President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos is intimately familiar with it.
Despite recently encountering issues with lawmakers, PAGCOR is also contributing. It is now a member of the Clark Security Advisory Council in addition to stepping up enforcement on the licensing side of the equation.
The recent controversy involving more than 1,000 human trafficking victims released at the Clark Freeport Zone in Pampanga gave rise to the creation of the new agency. Before the authorities finally stepped in, they had been made to work as slaves for illicit gambling businesses, phone centers, and other businesses.
The PNP should benefit greatly from the coordinated efforts of many strategies. Although illegal gambling will always be a problem, proper monitoring can prevent it from becoming out of hand.