The Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) has entered into a mutual cooperation agreement with four government agencies as part of an effort to tackle illegal online gambling in the Southeast Asian country.
The regulator, along with the Philippine National Police (PNP), National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), Bureau of Immigration (BI) and the Office of Cybercrime (OOC) under the Department of Justice, will form an inter-agency council.
The new council will assume responsibility for both the gathering and sharing of intelligence information related to illegal online gambling, as well as exchanging, reporting and centralising this data.
The council will also oversee intelligence operations, surveillance, raids, arrests and prosecutions as part of the new effort. This will include forensic examination of cases, validating gaming licences and a visa certifications, as well as filing the appropriate criminal and administrative charges against those that break laws.
“We’ve been doing this for the last two years together with the investigative and enforcement arms of the government like the NBI and the PNP,” PAGCOR chair and CEO, Andrea Domingo, said.
Formation of the new council is a direct response to Executive Order No. 13, s. 2017, which, issued by President Rodrigo Roa Duterte, calls to “strengthen the fight against illegal gambling and to clarify the jurisdiction and authority of concerned agencies in the regulation and licensing of gambling and online gaming facilities”.
The Office of the President will oversee the implementation of the Executive Order, which PAGCOR has said will reinforce its authority to regulate all games of chance, except those regulated by other regulatory bodies in their respective jurisdictions.