- The Philippine government could make potential changes to the responsibilities of PAGCOR
- Could result in a name change to PAGA and a focus on being just a regulatory body
It has been reported that the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) could potentially face amendments to its regulatory powers in the country.
PAGCOR is an agency owned by the country’s government that oversees casino– and gambling-related regulatory issues across the Philippines.
If effectual, the changes could result in the country’s Congress being given licensing powers in the casino and gambling industry, with PAGCOR being reduced to a pure and simple regulatory body.
This decision is alleged by some to have come as a result of the deadly Manila attack that killed 38 people a couple of months ago.
Why the shift?
A group called One Patriotic Coalition of Marginalized Nationals (1-Pacman) has put forward this suggestion, marking what could be a considerable power shift for the country.
1-Pacman has unveiled House Bill No. 6111, the aim of which is to transform the existing PAGCOR into the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Authority (PAGA). In that guise, the corporation will be given “exclusively regulatory powers” but lose its entitlement to operate chance-based games.
As mentioned above, Congress would instead be given licensing powers. This element of the House Bill No. 6111 – which was designed by 1-Pacman representatives Enrico Pineda and Michael Romero – has been created to apparently to make the license-acquiring process much quicker and simpler.
The change would mean that all gaming, gambling, and casino operators would be required to obtain “legislative franchises,” but at present, licensees exist that are governed by the current law, and their repositioning is expected to take a little longer to finalize.
All newly legislated franchisees will be required to pay a 5% franchise tax on their total aggregate earnings.
What will change?
The proposed PAGA’s regulatory functions are at the moment being carried out by bodies such as the Games and Amusement Board, the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office, the Aurora Pacific Economic Zone and Freeport, and the Cagayan Economic Zone Authority.
PAGA will be responsible for watching for, as well as dealing with, gambling-related offences, taking care of complaints, managing casino-based disputes, carrying out equipment checks, and asset selling.
‘Conflict of interest’
As far as the proposed changes, some suggest that stripping PAGCOR of its functions so that it becomes solely a regulator shows foreign investors that the Philippines is beginning to take gambling more seriously – the country’s lax regulation has been cited as a potential negative for investors.
Some analysts also think that by acting as both a casino operator and a sector regulator, the PAGCOR could have been representing a conflict of interest.
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