Philippines and Casinos’ Relation to Criminal Activity
Gambling business is very massive in the Philippines, although government laws prohibit people from gambling playing best online slots. There are many forms of illegal gambling, such as masaio and juateng.
Masaio is made of an unlawful number of games where the winning combination is derived from the results of the previous match. Jueteng is an illegal number of games that are a form of local lottery and common due to its nature. Last two is an irregular set of numbers with results derived from the sum up of the previous two; these games seem quiet unlike the best slot games that we are used to in countries where gambling is legal!
No specific laws are prohibiting online gambling, and so, it is very legal as it is. The Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (Pagro) is a government-run agency. It ensures legal gambling and running of casinos and any other gambling activities. The Philippines has become a haven for Chinese criminals and criminal activity. This was due to increased illegal online gambling as well as gambling-related kidnappings. Guess this is the only way to rival the UK casinos’ slot promotions and offers! Ha.
According to the Philippines Anti –Money Laundering Council (AMLC), both pay by mobile and land-based casinos are vulnerable criminal activity. Both PAGRO and AMLC help to eradicate every form of illegal activity in casinos. They have signed a memorandum agreement to ensure proper cooperation. In the recent past, there was a rising number of money laundering in casinos. Diokno, AMLC chairman, stated that it is challenging to look into cash flows in casinos both online and land-based. This is due to a lack of honesty amongst the dealers.
He believes that finding a high gambler is hard than getting the person funding the whole process. This leads to stringent enforcement of anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing policies.
There is an increase in criminal activities in Philippine casinos. This is regardless of the high number of licensed land-based casinos. Also, most of the gaming revenue is from manila four large scale integrated resorts. They include the city of dreams, resorts world, Solaire, and Okada. All these are registered with the AMLC. This makes it difficult to find out where exactly the crime originates.
Casinos Related kidnappings
Last year in 2019, the Philippines casinos were linked to 42 crimes. It was revealed by Filipino law enforcement. This high crime rate has also remained a problem in the casinos and hubs of online gaming. According to reports by the Philippines National Police Anti-Kidnapping Group, the 42 abductions have been filed. It's not clear where the kidnapping took place. It is guessed to have either been in the Philippine Offshore Gaming Operator (POGO) or land-based casinos. Most of the abductions took place at the land-based casinos. The reason for the kidnap was due to loans they owned the loan sharks. Loan sharks offer loans with huge interest to people who cannot get the money from banks. Business with loan sharks is illegal as it is.
Loan sharks use every form of violence and force when a debtor owes them and fails to honor their payment in time. This is due to the high-interest rate. Most gamblers find themselves caught up in debts that they cannot pay.
In the recent past, china demanded the president of Philippine Rodrigo Duterte to shut down all the online gambling centers. They were only targeting the Chinese players banned from engaging in internet gambling.
To solve all these problems; the police have been making some arrests for some time. A Chinese national was arrested after receiving a loan from loan sharks. He used the acquired loan to gamble at Okada casino and lost all the money without paying it back. The victim was later kidnapped in his own home in Manila. The kidnappers demanded a ransom of $39,000 from his wife for his safety. He later on communicated to his wife on the phone. That’s how the criminals were arrested, and the man was set free.
The Philippine police also hosted a summit on casino-related kidnappings. This was to address the rise of casino related kidnapping incidents connected to the loan sharking activities. The event was held in Quezon City. It was graced by several representatives from government bodies. Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp were one of them. The event comprised of workshops and debates relating to the rise of casino kidnappings.
It was noted that POGO is attracting more outsiders to the Philippines. Some criminal activities have been expanding due to loan sharking ventures in and out of casinos. They have been targeting the Chinese gamblers, notes the police. This has led to an increase in the number of kidnapping related to gambling debts.
PAGCOR vowed to increase casino surveillance and enhance information sharing amongst operators. This is in a bid to stop loan sharking –related kidnappings. The Philippines media stated that they would come up with facial recognition cameras. This would boost safety in casinos. This was announced after a meeting that was held with representatives of the Bureau of Immigration and the casino operators with the Philippine National Police Anti-kidnapping group.
In a Nutshell
It is evident that the high criminal activity in casinos has slightly gone up. Government bodies have continued to merge and ensure reduced crime rates in casinos. The Philippine National Police has also come up with teams that will work at complaints desks in all casinos in the country. These desks will be found within and outside casinos. There will also be an interpreter on standby for any assistance needed.
Finally, it's safer to say that gambling is allowed in Philippines casinos. Although there are laws in the constitution that every casino must adhere to and be aware of. To avoid arrests and any form of penalties. The Republic acts No. 9287 increases penalties for illegal games, amending specific provisions of presidential Decree No. 1602. Gambling has become an addiction in the Philippines. People spend all their money on casinos leading to damaging families. The government has come up with more guidelines on gambling. The only thing that we can all hope for right now is that the situation will change in the country.
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