Pagcor to clamp down on loan sharks amid rise in casino-related kidnappings
The country’s gaming regulator has announced a plan to regulate the activities of “financiers” operating in local casinos who are accused of being behind a spate of kidnappings of players who are unable to promptly repay their loans.
In a statement, the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (Pagcor) said it was coordinating with the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, Securities and Exchange Commission and other regulatory agencies regarding the implementing rules and regulations of this planned policy.
“Pagcor believes that while gaming contributes significantly to government revenue, 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 hopes of playing on and recovering their earlier gambling losses.
The bulk of recent reports about kidnapping incidents perpetrated by loan sharks involved 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, and with representatives of the PNP Anti-Kidnapping Group and 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 the gaming and entertainment business in the country, Pagcor said it and its licensees would strengthen their 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 casino host cities.
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