Online gambling is against the law in Pasig City, Philippines.

Online gambling is against the law in Pasig City, Philippines.

Home > Online gambling is against the law in Pasig City, Philippines.

Online gambling is against the law in Pasig City, Philippines.

Pasig City in the Philippines is going all the way with the country’s goal to improve “moral welfare.” Its government said on Tuesday that it won’t give licenses to companies that offer online gambling. Companies that already have licenses will have to move out.

Vico Sotto is mayor of Pasig City.

During a public event, Pasig City Mayor Vico Sotto was there. He just signed an order that says all kinds of online gambling are illegal in the city. (Image: PhilStar Global)
After a lot of bad news about online gambling in the country, the law was changed. Most notably, the Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators (POGO) segment and e-sabong have put a dark cloud over the whole gambling industry.

Not morally correct

POGOs, e-sabong, and betting on cockfights were not bad things in and of themselves. But the actions of a few shady people caused a lot of damage, which is why Pasig City is now making the whole industry pay for it.

Ordinance 55 says how the city will deal with online gambling in the future. It has everything to do with online games, including POGOs, online casinos, e-sabong, e-bingo, online poker, and everything else.

The new law was passed by the city council on December 15, and it goes into effect right away. The ordinance says that any operator who is involved in any of the online activities it covers will have to stop within a year. Service providers who help the iGaming industry are also covered by the new law.

POGO ecosystem.

When the POGO ecosystem first started, it brought the Philippines a lot of good things, including money. But when the government tried to raise the taxes that segment had to pay, many operators stopped following the rules and started doing business however they could. In some cases, this meant slave labor, kidnapping, and torturing people.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, e-sabong was popular in the Philippines, where sabong has been legal for a long time. Online betting platforms came along when there were fewer ways to bet at live events.

When the news started saying that some people were selling their babies to pay off gambling debts, e-sabong got a lot of bad press. In one case, a mother who was 22 years old sold her baby to pay off a debt of about $858. She lived in the city of Pasig.

So, Pasig City Mayor Vico Sotto, who was re-elected in May, doesn’t think there should be any legal gambling in his area. “Protect the social and moral welfare of the community” is the goal of the mandate.

If someone breaks the new law, they could get a fine of PHP5,000 (US$89.60) and spend up to a year in jail.

The government’s coffers will be hurt.

Whether or not his ultimatum leads to the result he wants is still up for debate. The fact that gambling is illegal doesn’t stop people from doing it, and the black market is a dangerous place for gamblers to be.

In the greater Manila area, Pasig City is the fourth richest city. But because of Ordinance 55, it is about to lose some of its money. Sotto thinks that the ban will cost the government about PHP3 million (US$53,790) a year.

That covers the direct effects on the economy, but there could be more. Losing the sector could also mean losing jobs, which could hurt the city’s finances even more. Sotto said that the losses are “a very small price to pay for the city.”

Something that Pasig City is doing is something that other lawmakers would like to see the whole country do. A campaign is going on right now to get rid of all online gambling in the country, but that will take a lot more work.

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