PHILIPPINES PRESIDENT THREATENS TO BAN ALL ONLINE GAMBLING (Update)
No timeframe or details given.
The always unpredictable and occasionally surreal president of the Philippines, Rodrigo Duterte is in the headlines again Thursday after announcing without details that he intends to shut down all online gambling in the country, according to Reuters and local media reports.
Speaking at a budget signing ceremony in Malacañang, Duterte reportedly said: "I am ordering the closure of all online gaming. The Philippines does not benefit from online gaming."
Duterte has already wreaked havoc on the Philippines e-gaming business through his at times contradictory assertions and decisions via Pagcor, and the damage has been amplified by the recent bribery scandal involving Immigration officials and the now-seized online gambling assets of Macau businessman Jack Lam .
The local industry will be waiting for the other shoe to drop following the president's apparent about-turn on online gambling; as recently as August he said that he is willing to allow a resumption of online gambling if correct taxes are paid and gaming venues are situated away from schools and churches.
Online gambling supporters and politicians have repeatedly pointed out that licensed e-gaming activity makes significant contributions to the economy in terms of taxation, employment and fees.