Press Release
January 8, 2013


Senator Aquilino "Koko" Pimentel III, PDP Laban President, today urged the government-owned Philippine Gaming and Amusement Corporation (Pagcor) to come up with a comprehensive master plan on casino gaming that would "strike a balance between raising revenues and protecting the moral fiber of society, especially the youth."

Pimentel said that "while revenues from state-run gaming operations are substantial and can finance badly-needed social development projects of the government, we also need to rationalize gaming activities in such a way that they do not erode our traditional moral values."

The masterplan, he said, must indicate how many casinos the country can absorb and where these are to be located.

The grant of a casino license must take into account the personality of the licensee. Hence all transactions which affect the "personality" of the licensee must require Pagcor approval. Otherwise the unscrupulous and notorious may end up owning a gaming license, Pimentel said.

While Pagcor has yet to come up with such a master plan, the lawmaker said, in the meantime there should be a stop to the establishment of more casinos, including e-games and e-bingo, according to Pimentel.

"I would prefer attracting more investments in manufacturing rather than in casinos," Pimentel said, as these would result in more jobs for the country's growing labor force.

Pimentel said that while the trend is to build family-oriented establishments rather than stand-alone casinos catering to the affluent, the gaming industry as a whole caters to a limited clientele and casinos are perceived as mere playgrounds of the rich.

"In a society where there is pervasive poverty, glitzy casinos where only the rich can bet large amounts of money in one sitting would appear incongruous and only shows the yawning gap between the rich and the poor," he added.

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