Online gaming crackdown in the Philippines

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President Duterte has delegated Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II to lead a task force that would crack back on online gaming casinos in economical zones in Aurora, Cagayan and Bataan states for extensive tax evasion.
Salvador Medialdea, Executive Secretary, is drafting an executive order that would authorize the task force to check into claims that these online gaming casinos have been withholding from the government a trillion pesos in lost revenue every year based on the President’s estimates, according to Aguirre.
The order, Aguirre also said, didn’t cover online gaming operations licensed by the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (Pagcor).
“This is much larger than Jack Lam. We’re still waiting to see what particular abilities the task force will be bestowed in order to go after this extensive tax fraud and this requires huge quantities of cash,” said Aguirre to reporters on Friday.
Aguirre was speaking specifically to Jack Lam, Chinese gaming tycoon, who was ordered to be held under arrest by the President for economic sabotage and bribery. This was after a Nov. 24 raid at Clark Freeport in Pampanga, on his Fontana Leisure Parks and Casino which subsequently led to the arrest of 1,316 prohibited Chinese workers running unlicensed online games.
The Department of Justice also ran a raid on Lam’s Fort IIocandia Resort on Dec. 10 in Laoag City. In this raid, however, the Chinese workers (illegal) inside the unlawful online games business had fled.
Aguirre said there were other larger on-line gaming businesses operating exclusively on permits given Apeco by Ceza and Afab that never have been following the rules on tax and labor remittances as shown by the President.

Pagcor has raised almost P1 billion from licensing firms in the “foreign” online gaming industry, which underwent a sweeping revamp under Mr. Duterte. Pagcor has approved 35 licenses under the brand new Philippine Offshore Gaming Operation, charging between $200, $150,000 000 for operators seeking sports betting and e -casino permits.
“On-Line businesses that violate our gambling laws, our tax laws, that don’t pay the taxes that are correct like Jack Lam are the goals. But with respect to other people who are complying with the restrictions, of Pagcor restrictions, they’ve nothing to be concerned about,” Aguirre said.

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