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Odds in our favor?

Egay Uy .

GAMBLING should be strictly regulated. This goes true both in the national and local levels. I have noticed that gambling houses (mah-jong, poker, and probably other card games of chance) have proliferated in the city even as it not “that easy” to secure permits from the city government. Are some operating illegally?

Cockfighting, on the other hand, is strictly regulated under the Cockfighting Law of 1974, as amended, which clearly lays down the rules on the number of cockpits that a locality can authorized to be established. Yet there are “tari-tari” events in some areas that in the meantime remain unchecked.

Cockfighting has a color of culture and heritage. So, in a 2005 Decision (Tan v. Perea, GR 149743) the Supreme Court said, “(C)ockfighting should neither be exploited as an object of commercialism or business enterprise, nor made a tool of uncontrolled gambling, but more as a vehicle for the preservation and perpetuation of native Filipino heritage and thereby enhance our national identity.”

Because of want for easy money, gambling is difficult to curb. The Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office has embarked on projects that are meant to “kill” uncontrolled and illegal numbers gambling all over but the perpetrators always have their way around the laws and regulations.

One informal report says that legitimate small-town lottery outlets have been competing with unauthorized outlets, and some unauthorized outlets have become the booking site what remains of the illegal masiao.  Still some other illegitimate outlets have offered more winnings than what the legit ones offer.

The PCSO has sought the assistance of the Philippine National Police, the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group, the National Bureau of Investigation, and the local government units to curb the proliferation of illegal outlets that are paraded as legitimate.

Well, may the operators of these illegal outlets better be warned that soon drastic measures will have to be taken to close you down.  Remember that not a single centavo of what you rake in benefit the public because no taxes or fees, or even the mandated share of the PCSO, are paid.

I am glad to note that the new leadership of the Games and Amusement Committee of the City Council, Councilor Roger Abaday, has taken a serious look into gambling in the city.

I hope the odds are always in favor of regulators.

(Egay Uy is a lawyer. He chairs the City’s Regulatory and Complaint Board, co-chairs with the city mayor the City Price Coordinating Council, and chairs the city’s Joint Inspection Team.  He retired as a vice president of Cepalco.)


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