Internet gambling in the Philippines is controlled by a government-sanctioned monopoly called PAGCOR (Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp). In a recent address to the new state president elect Benigno Aquino III, Archbishop Oscar Cruz called for the disbanding of PAGCOR, calling the internet gambling group a “corrupt and corrupting operation”.
“On bended knees I would want to ask the incoming administration to get rid of PAGCOR,” Cruz said.
Cruz, founder of both the People’s Movement against Jueteng (an illegal numbers game played in the Philippines) and the People’s Movement against Gambling, is opposed to PAGCOR and everything it represents, and he is intent on having his voice heard. A recent blog post on Cruz’s website details his campaign.
“PAGCOR is a government corporation,” Cruz says. “It makes the government itself a social malediction for promoting corruption, indolence and dependence among the people.”
While Cruz has garnered the support of several other local bishops, not everyone is convinced by his arguments. The PAGCOR monopoly is in place not only to generate money for the state (it is the second largest contributor of state revenue in the Philippines), but also to keep the nation’s gambling industry under tight control.
While PAGCOR (in partnership with local internet company Philweb) is the only official operator of an online gambling sites in the Philippines that targets local players, Most of the revenue that PAGCOR generates comes from land-based operations, including casinos, bingo, sports betting and betting exchanges. A large portion of the money generated is siphoned into socio-civic and national developmental efforts, and is used to help boost the country’s tourism industry.