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Pagcor confirms arrests in illegal online gambling raid

| By Robert Fletcher
The Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (Pagcor) has announced 12 people have been arrested as part of a clampdown on illegal online gambling in the country.
Pagcor arrests illegal gambling

Arrests were made by the National Capital Region Police Office and Anti-Cybercrime Group of the Philippine National Police. The arrests follow a raid in Parañaque City and support a wider effort by Pagcor to combat illegal gambling.

The probe focused on Tbb888.com, a site identified by Pagcor as offering online gambling illegally. Games available on the sire include slots, casino and esports betting.

During the raid, authorities seized computer sets, mobile phones, tablets, laptops and flash drives. The confiscated gadgets were found to contain evidence of the group’s illegal online gambling activities.

Pagcor also noted that the raid took place in the BF Northwest Subdivision. This, the regulator added, is an affluent area home to prominent political and business leaders in Parañaque.

Pagcor senior vice-president for security and monitoring cluster, Raul Villanueva, said cases will now be filed against the suspects before the Parañaque Regional Trial Court.

“The operation was part of our unified efforts to intensify the fight against illegal online gambling,” Villanueva said. “We have a marching order from Pagcor chairman Alejandro Tengco to put a stop to these illegal activities.

“We will continuously collaborate with law enforcement authorities to put a stop to these.”

Long-term commitment to tackle illegal gambling 

Villanueva took the opportunity to reiterate Pagcor’s commitment to combating all forms of illegal online gambling. 

pagcor claims to have blocked 80% of the 5,000 illegal websites that were previously active

He said at one point almost 5,000 illegal websites were active in the Philippines. However, the efforts of Pagcor mean 80% of these sites have now been blocked.

“We need to consistently monitor and report them to authorities not only to protect the bettors but to also ensure that revenues from regulated gaming are channelled back to the government for its nation-building programmes,” Villanueva said.

“We advise the public to stop patronising illegal online gaming sites and instead play on legal platforms to protect themselves. Unfortunately, most of the victims of these illegal sites are Filipino bettors.

“We are also working closely with the Cybercrime Investigation and Coordinating Center under the Department of Information and Communications Technology because we have a lot more targets under surveillance.”

Pagcor slams privatisation “disinformation”

The arrests come after Pagcor last week criticised “disinformation” over a rumour it will spend ₱500m (£7.1m/€8.3m$8.9m) to repair its Casino Filipino branch in Angeles City ahead of privatisation.

The rumour spread from a post from Pagcor employee Gian Samson. In the post, Samson said Pagcor would improve the casino for potential buyers, who may want to purchase it after it has been privatised.

Tengco denied the rumour, stating Pagcor would not spend any money on the renovation.

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