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Congress gets back authority to issue gaming franchise

- Paolo Romero () - March 12, 2012 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - The House of Representatives has approved on third and final reading a bill reverting to Congress the authority of granting legislative franchise to operators of games of chance, cards and numbers.

House Bill 5682, authored by Reps. Pedro Romualdo (Camiguin), Marcelino Teodoro (Marikina City), Giorgidi Aggabao (Isabela), Arturo Robes (San Jose del Monte City) and Jeci Lapus (Tarlac), prohibits the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (Pagcor) from issuing casino, gaming and other similar licenses to operate without legislative franchises.

Republic Act 9487 of 2007 has extended Pagcor’s franchise for another 25 years and granted it authority to operate and license gambling casinos, gaming clubs, and other similar recreation or amusement places and gaming pools which consequently, delegated more power compared to its original mandate – that of operating and maintaining casinos.

“Since then, Pagcor has issued a number of licenses to various companies to operate casinos and gaming clubs in different parts of the country. The grant of the delegated authority in licensing, the mandates of Congress in terms of franchising relatively diminished,” Romualdo said.

“A consequence also is the extension of the franchise of Pagcor to its affiliates and licensees. Pagcor has encroached with congressional mandates as provided by the 1987 Constitution,” he said.

Romualdo said, “The measure seeks to rectify the situation and shall revoke the authority of Pagcor to license casino and gaming club operators.”

He said the measure shall give back to Congress its supervisory oversight with Pagcor by mandating contracts entered into by the state gaming firm, in whatever form, will be subject to the approval of the legislative body.

The measure shall also grant Pagcor the authority to maintain, operate and regulate the operation of gambling casinos, gaming clubs, Internet, online gaming and other similar gambling enterprises.

“But Pagcor shall require the licensee to secure from Congress a legislative franchise to operate gambling casinos, gaming clubs and other similar gambling enterprise prior to issuance of a license to operate,” Romualdo said, adding that the gaming firm shall inform Congress of any modification on ownership and capitalization and structure of its affiliate entities.

More income for Pagcor

Meanwhile, Pagcor reported that its gross revenue grew by almost P1 billion in February compared to the same period last year.

Pagcor’s gross income increased to P3.56 billion last month from P2.63 billion in February 2011.

“This is the ninth time since July 2010 that we posted the highest gross earnings for a single month in Pagcor’s 25-year history,” Pagcor chairman and chief executive officer Cristino Naguiat Jr. said.

He said the gaming firm also exceeded its February 2012 income target by P274 million.– With Helen Flores

ARTURO ROBES BUT PAGCOR CRISTINO NAGUIAT JR. GAMING GIORGIDI AGGABAO HOUSE BILL HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES JECI LAPUS MARCELINO TEODORO PAGCOR ROMUALDO
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