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Illegal Gambling Regulation (Philippines) 

by Maria Jennifer Barreto

Published: August, 2017

Submission: August, 2017


Earlier this year, Executive Order no 13, which aims to strengthen the fight against illegal gambling in the Philippines, was issued. EO No. 13 mandates relevant law enforcement agencies to coordinate on campaigns against illegal gambling, and clarifies the territorial jurisdiction of government authorities that issue licenses for gambling and online gaming facilities.

Under this executive order, relevant law enforcement agencies are brought together to intensify the fight against illegal gambling through coordination and by promptly acting on requests from the gambling regulatory authorities to investigate and stop illegal gambling activities in their respective jurisdictions.

Citing existing laws, illegal gambling is defined under the executive order as an act that is committed by any person who, in any manner, shall directly or indirectly take part in any game scheme, regardless of whether winning thereat is dependent upon chance or skill or both, wherein wagers consisting of money, articles of value or representative of value are at stake or made, when such game scheme is not authorised or licensed by the government agency duly empowered by law or its charter to licence or authorise the conduct of such games, or is conducted in a manner that violates the terms and conditions duly prescribed by the said government agency.

The executive order then states that gambling activities – including any services directly or indirectly linked with those activities – are illegal if they are conducted beyond the territorial jurisdiction of the government authority that issued the licence for the activities.

Section 3 of the executive order clarifies that no duly licensed online gambling operator, or provider of activities and services supporting online gambling activities, may directly or indirectly allow persons who are physically located outside the territorial jurisdiction of the licensing authority to place bets, or in any way participate, in the games conducted by that operator. This also applies to participation through an online portal or similar means.

The office of the President is expected to issue the implementing rules and regulations of this executive order soon.

Maria Jennifer Z. Barreto is a member of the firm’s special projects; banking, finance and securities; and employment and immigration. Her expertise in M&A and financing cover energy, mining, banking, gambling, manufacturing and business process outsourcing sectors. Ms. Barreto executed the transaction of the joint venture investment by a leading conglomerate in the Philippines and Genting Hong Kong in Resorts World Manila hotel, casino entertainment and integrated resort complex.


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