SC asked to stop Pagcor from issuing offshore gaming licenses

An anti-corruption watchdog on Wednesday asked the Supreme Court to nullify a regulation issued by the board of the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (Pagcor) last September allowing the state gaming agency to issue offshore gaming licenses either to Philippine or offshore-based operators.

In a petition for certiorari, the Union for National Development and Good Governance-Philippines (UNLAD-Philippines) through its chairman, Miguel Daniel Cruz, said the “Rules and Regulations for Philippine Offshore Gaming Operations” issued by the Pagcor Board headed by its chair Andrea Domingo is unconstitutional.

Petitioner said the high court should immediately stop Pagcor from implementing the assailed rules on offshore gaming.

 

The petitioner told the high court that Pagcor has gravely abused its discretion when it issued the rules on offshore gaming because it has no legal basis.

They stressed that Pagcor ‘s legislative franchise does not allow it to grant franchise to online gaming catering to foreign players and gamblers outside the Philippine’s territorial jurisdiction.

“It is the humble submission of the petitioners that Pagcor committed grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction when it approved the assailed Rules on Offshore Gaming. This is so because Pagcor is not authorized under its legislative franchise, Presidential Decree 1869, either to operate and regulate gambling on the internet catering foreign based players and gamblers that are physically outside the Philippine jurisdiction,” the 18-page petition said.

“Therefore, the rules on offshore gaming approved and currently implemented by Pagcor [are] null and void on the ground that Pagcor is patently without jurisdiction, legislative franchise, authority or power to issue licenses for the opening, establishment, operation, regulation, control and management on [online] gambling as defined under the Rules on Offshore Gaming,” it added.

The rules on offshore gaming, which Pagcor under the assailed rules intends to implement, refer to the offering by a licensee of Pagcor online games of chance via the Internet using a network, software or program, exclusively to offshore authorized players excluding Filipinos abroad, who have registered and established an online gaming account with the licensee.

Lastly, the petitioner explained that even granting without conceding that Pagcor has all the power to operate, license or regulate offshore gaming as contemplated in the assailed Rules the same cannot be done through the issuance of licenses.

“Pagcor’s act of mere issuing a license is in itself a violation of its franchise as there none in the provision of the law that allows Pagcor to delegate that authority to various license holders it already authorized. The Pagcor law must first be amended for it to legally delegate that authority exclusively franchised to it,” the petitioner said.

[Source:-Inquirer net]