Philippine Gambling Regulator Takes Issue With Proposal to Be Stripped of Licensing Powers

The Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (PAGCOR), which currently serves as both gambling regulator and operator, has contested a legislative proposal that would strip it of its authority to grant gaming licenses to interested gambling businesses.
Under House Bill 6514, co-authored by House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez and House Deputy Majority Leader Juan Pablo Bondoc, gambling companies will have to obtain a franchise from the Congress, known to be the Philippines’ main bicameral legislative body.
According to PAGCOR, operators obtaining a franchise from the Philippine Congress is not required under the nation’s Constitution, and that such franchises should only be obtained for the provision of public utility services.
Mr. Bondoc said during a Monday hearing that PAGCOR should not forget that its current powers to issue licenses are actually the result from the fact that it had been granted a franchise from the Congress. The legislator’s comments came after he read PAGCOR’s position paper on the matter.
The House Deputy Majority Leader went on to say the Congress could retake the gambling regulator’s powers to grant licenses if and when it finds necessary. According to Mr. Bondoc, the process of issuing licenses to gambling operators should be transparent and public and that the Congress can ensure that transparency.
He also pointed out that licenses are currently being issued privately, which makes the process vulnerable to “regulatory capture”.


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