Philippines-based gambling operators have been formally warned that offering kickbacks to public officials is a guaranteed one-way trip to jail and/or Palookaville.
On Tuesday, the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) posted a notice to its website alerting all gambling licensees – be they land-based casinos, eGaming venues or online gambling operators – clarifying the regulator’s ironclad ‘No Gift Policy.’
PAGCOR drew attention to a specific section of the Republic Act No. 3019, aka the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, which prohibits public officials from directly or indirectly requesting or receiving gifts, presents or other material benefits from any person or entity over which an official holds the power to intervene on their behalf.
PAGCOR notes that its own ‘No Gift Policy’ prohibits officials from soliciting or accepting “any gift, gratuity, favor, entertainment, loan or anything of monetary value” from any local or foreign party seeking to influence the decision-making process of PAGCOR’s Governing Board, officers, employees and consultants.
PAGCOR emphasized that both the individuals caught offering such gratuities and the government officials who receive these gifts face between one and ten years in prison. So, seriously, don’t do it.
PAGCOR’s reminder, which was dated June 27th, came the same week that Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte accused Noel Manakil, president/CEO of the Clark Development Corporation (CDC), of soliciting bribes of P2m (US $40k) on every contract he’d approved. Manakil, who has denied the corruption allegations, stepped down from his post last week pending an investigation into the matter.
The CDC is responsible for overseeing activity in the Clark Freeport in Pampanga, which is home to the Fontana casino formerly operated by Jimei Group founder Jack Lam. Lam’s Philippine land-based and online gaming assets were seized last year following allegations of corruption, tax evasion and employing undocumented foreign workers. Duterte’s anti-Manakil diatribe alluded to claims that the Clark boss was overly friendly with Lam.
PAGCOR’s reminder is also a warning to Philippines-licensed online operators to be sure with whom they’re dealing on a B2B basis. It bears repeating that the Philippine Supreme Court ordered an investigation into just how online gambling conman Jan Robert Gustafsson was able to convince a local judge to swear out a search warrant targeting a Gustafsson competitor based purely on Gustafsson’s own fraudulent testimony.