Duterte orders closure of all online gaming firms

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Philippines News Agency | Maricel Halili, News5
December 22, 2016 7:29 PM

MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte on Thursday ordered the closure of all online gaming firms saying the country has no mechanism to regulate online gambling.

“I am ordering the closure of all online gaming, all of them. They have no use to government,” the President said during his speech at Malacanang Palace after the ceremonial signing of the P3.35 trillion national budget for 2017.

He said he is ordering the closure because while gambling here is taxable, the Philippine government has no mechanism to track down and collect taxes from bets placed outside the country.

“Yung online sa Pilipinas, pero ‘yung betting outside, wala tayong mechanism (The online firm is in the Philippines, but we have no mechanism against the betting coming from outside the country),” Duterte said.

Earlier, Duterte ordered the arrest of Macau gaming tycoon Jack Lam for allegedly trying to bribe government officials to free more than 1,000 illegal Chinese workers arrested in his gaming facility in Pampanga last November.

Lam’s camp have denied the bribery allegations.

Aside from ordering his arrest, the President also ordered last week the seizure of all of Lam’s assets in the Philippines for not paying the correct taxes.

Duterte said that while it was true that Lam had paid taxes for all bets received by his gambling enterprise from bettors within the Philippines, no tax had been paid for bets from other countries, which were placed online.

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