Monday July 18, 2011 : PHILIPPINES HASSLES FOR ONLINE CASINOS
City mayor and council clash over internet casino permit
Internet casinos in Cebu City in the Philippines are in danger of losing their permits to operate even if they are duly accredited by the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (Pagcor), reports the local publication Sun Star.
Mayor Michael Rama has opposed the city council's resolution allowing a new company to operate an Internet casino, because it goes against a City Ordinance making it unlawful to install, establish or operate Internet casino gaming in Internet cafes and similar establishments in the city.
Rama cited his objection in a letter to the City Council through the presiding officer, Vice Mayor Joy Augustus Young.
The letter was then referred to the committee on laws, ordinances, public accountability and good government of Councilor Edgardo Labella, who agreed with the stand taken by the mayor.
The subject of the dispute is an application by Queen City E-Gaming Corp. to operate a Pagcor-accredited Internet casino in Cebu City. The council clashed with the mayor over its decision to approve the application, and the matter is now at a stalemate following the law committee's finding that the initial approval of council, which was engineered without a public hearing, was illegal and should be withdrawn.
A councillor who voted for the internet licence said that in previous years, some Internet casinos in Cebu City were allowed to operate and were given council permits.
However, the law committee chairmen was adamant that such permits were illegal in terms of city ordinances, and were – or are – invalid and should be immediately withdrawn.
He said that the operators of Internet casinos prejudiced by such withdrawals have the right to legally challenge the very specific City Ordinance 1860, but until then, it has to be implemented.