State regulator Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) has warned casino operators to not let minors inside their gambling facilities if they don’t want their casinos to be shuttered for good.
In a memorandum posted on its website, PAGCOR reminded casino operators to forbid guests below 21 years old from entering the gambling area of their integrated resorts. The penalty set by PAGCOR for erring casinos was the closure of the gaming site.
The state regulator also reiterated its long-standing prohibition on all government officials and employees, as well as their immediate relatives; members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and Philippine National Police (PNP); Gaming Employment License holders; and persons included in the National Database of Restricted Persons from setting foot in any casino in the country.
Casino operators that will violate the directive will face a penalty of PHP100,000 (US$1,980) per entry per individual classified as a “prohibited person,” according to PAGCOR.
The guidelines stemmed from Memorandum Circular No. 6, which was signed in 2016 after the Philippine government received reports that many government officials and employees, and even members of the AFP and PNP, have been frequenting the casinos.
The prohibition on government officials inside casinos was also Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte’s way “to promote a high standard of ethics in public service.”If any government official or personnel enters a casino, it would be considered “conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the service,” according to the regulator.
PAGCOR, however, failed to clarify yet again whether elected government officials were also prohibited from gambling in casinos. At the height of the House of Representatives’ investigation into the Resorts World Manila arson attack, Isabela Rep. Rodolfo Albano declared that elected government officials were exempted from PAGCOR’s prohibition from gambling in casinos.
The legislator pointed out that PAGCOR couldn’t bar them from gambling in casinos because the electorate already knew they gamble a lot but they still chose to vote for them anyway.