International edition
June 14, 2021

As he announced 2017 budget

Duterte to close "out of control" online gambling operations

Duterte to close
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte announced on Thursday he would halt all online gambling in his country.
Philippines | 12/22/2016

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte announced on Thursday he would halt all online gambling in his country.

D

uterte made the comment while announcing a 2017 budget that focused heavily on populist measures. He gave no timeframe for such a ban or details on its scope.

The firebrand former mayor has been a worry for the country's booming online gambling industry and in August scrapped one firm's 13-year monopoly of gambling in licensed online cafes.

The Philippine gambling industry is one of Asia's most freewheeling, attracting many online foreign companies over the last decade to set up servers aimed at overseas punters, and has lured investments of billions of dollars in casino resorts.

Shares of PhilWeb Corp. fell 30 percent while Leisure and Resorts World dipped 20 percent after the President’s declaration, which came less than an hour before the market closed.

The President took a tougher stand after he declared in August that online gaming could resume as long as regulations are strictly enforced.

PhilWeb is applying for a new license after regulators refused in August to renew its authorization to supply software systems to gaming cafes. Its former chairman, tycoon Roberto Ongpin, resigned and divested from the company after Duterte branded him as an oligarch who must be destroyed.

"I am ordering the closure of all online gaming," Duterte said in a speech at the presidential palace.

The President cited corruption in the granting of gaming licenses which he claimed amounted to P300 billion.

Duterte declared immediately after assuming office on June 30 that online gambling must stop, saying it was spreading "out of control." 

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