The Filipino government is determined to crack down on underage gambling. A bill is being considered to impose harsh penalties on violators.
The Philippines is one of the few countries in the Asia-Pacific region to have legal, licensed online gambling on top of its booming resort casino industry. Filipinos can log onto registered sites which pay taxes to the government.
Yes, gambling laws in the Philippines are quite liberal. Too liberal, some might say. Members of the parliament led anti-crime advocate Samuel Pagdilao have proposed new regulations that would impose hefty fines on companies and individuals caught offering gambling services to underage residents of the country.
The legislation, titles Bill 4540, calls for a 10-year prison sentence of fines of up to $230,000 for those caught providing gambling services to minors.
Bill unlikely to be effective
If passed, Bill 4540 would make sportsbooks and online casinos in the Philippines think twice about serving underage customers. But that doesn’t mean it will have a significant positive effect on the problem of underage gambling.
Despite having domestic options millions of Filipinos (including minors) choose to wager their money with offshore bookies and online casinos, many of which are located in distant locales like Gibraltar, Malta and Antigua.
The Filipino government has no authority to crack down on those providers, so underage gamblers will continue to use them. The authorities would be better off investing in updated technology to prevent minors from accessing gambling sites.