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Online gambling needed to recover from pandemic, Philippines President Duterte says
Once an outspoken critic of all gambling activities, having quashed new casino developments in Boracay, Bohol and Manila, Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte now believes (online) gambling a necessary source of funds to fight the COVID-19 pandemic.
During a meeting with political party officials on Wednesday, with state-owned Philippine News Agency present, Duterte was quoted as saying:
“Why did I allow gambling? We don’t have money. Now that we need money the most sensible thing is really just to encourage those activities.”
“Though it may sound not really repulsive but maybe repugnant to some, you have to deal with it because we need money for the country.”
Duterte’s opposition to gambling is largely to illegal activities and said he is still against gambling “in the barangay-level” noting that it would be more difficult to control.
Malacañang, the office of the President, recognizes the Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators (POGOs) as the government’s tax revenue generators amid the prevailing health crisis, but would not let them evade paying the right taxes. Around 60 POGOs have currently secured licenses to operate in and from the Philippines.
Two months ago, Philippines gaming regulator PAGCOR allowed Tiger Resort, Leisure & Entertainment Inc (TRLEI) to operate online gaming operations from its integrated resort Okada Manila. Okada resorts is the biggest casino in the Philippines.
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