In what could be described as a knee-jerk reaction to last week’s Resorts World Manila (RWM) casino rampage, Philippine legislators are reviving an old proposal to impose a hefty entrance fee on locals going to casinos.
Interaksyon reported that Isabela House Rep. Rodolfo Albano has filed a bill seeking to impose a P3,000 entrance fee on “any and all casinos and similar gaming establishments for the purpose of engaging in gambling and other related gaming activities.”
A similar piece of legislation sponsored by Misamis Oriental Rep. Peter Unabia wants to slap a P3,500 casino entrance fee on local gamblers with gross income amounting to P50,000 and above. The bill would spare foreign tourists from these fees.
The imposition of the fee, according to Albano, is to “ensure that persons entering any and all casinos have the resources to engage in any form of gambling and related activities” as well as “to strengthen the regulation of gambling activity in the country.”
Entrance fees collected from local players will be used for setting up and maintenance of children and youth welfare centers under the supervision of the Philippines’ Department of Social Welfare and Development.
Half of the total collection will be allocated for the children and youth welfare programs in the city or municipality where the casino is located.
Unabia explained that he is filing the bill to dissuade Filipinos from gambling and to “reduce the impact of casinos on local residents.”
The twin bills were some of the many proposals that emerged in the wake of the deadly casino rampage that was perpetrated by slain problem gambler Jessie Javier Carlos last Friday.
Majority leader Rudy Fariñas said they will review Republic Act (RA) 9487, “with a view of amending it and repealing altogether” Presidential Decree (PD) 1869. Passed in 2007, RA 9487 extended PAGCOR’s franchise for another 25 years and also granted the state-run agency the authority to operate and license casinos as well as gaming and entertainment clubs in the country.