Pagcor to target casino loan sharks in bid to end kidnappings
MANILA, Philippines – The country’s gaming regulator has announced a plan to regulate casino financiers believed to be behind a spate of kidnappings of gamblers unable to pay the loan sharks on time.
In a press statement, the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (Pagcor) said it is coordinating with the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, the Securities and Exchange Commission and other regulatory agencies to craft the implementing rules and regulations of this planned policy.
“Pagcor believes that while gaming contributes significantly to government revenues, it must not be used as a vehicle for abuse and injustices,” the agency said. “As the country’s gaming regulator, we condemn these dreadful acts and we will ensure that the local gaming industry will maintain the integrity of its operations.”
The move was made in response to reports about an increase in kidnapping cases of casino players perpetuated mostly by loan sharks who prey on gamblers who resort to borrowing money in the hope of playing on and recovering their earlier gambling losses.
The bulk of recent reports about kidnapping cases perpetrated by loan sharks involve Chinese casino players as the victims.
“In the light of these events, Pagcor organized a meeting with licensed casino operators in the Entertainment City and Clark as well with the representatives of the Philippine National Police Anti-Kidnapping Group and the Bureau of Immigration to address these casino-related kidnappings,” the agency said.
“Pagcor and the major players in the local gaming industry denounce these criminal acts and we will not sit idly in the face of these injustices,” it added.
To safeguard the integrity of gaming and entertainment business in the country, Pagcor said it and its casino licensees will will strengthen security protocols by enhancing casino surveillance facilities such as facial recognition cameras; enable information sharing among casino operators on suspected criminals; augment security personnel; and constantly coordinate with concerned government agencies such as the PNP, immigration authorities, the Department of Foreign Affairs and the casino host cities./TSB
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