Rep. Bienvenido “Benny” Abante Jr. of the Manila 6th District urged the government on Friday to study the social costs of all forms of online gambling on the lives of Filipinos rather than singling out Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators (POGOs) in the country as the primary target of their attention. Abante is a member of the House of Representatives.
“The recent emphasis that has been cast on the detrimental impact of POGOs need to also be cast on all types of online gambling that are available in the country. “This is due to the fact that POGOs cater to players located outside of the Philippines, as opposed to online games that target Filipino clients such as virtual poker, casinos, sports betting, and e-bingo,” Abante said in a statement.
“Because Filipinos are the primary targets of online gambling platforms, it is abundantly evident that the social consequences of electronic gambling are significantly higher than those of POGOs “he stated.
The lawmaker pointed out that the most recent Senate hearing on POGOs simply served to underline the fact that gambling of any kind is prohibited in China, including internet gambling, and that the Chinese government has been taking stringent measures to combat any and all forms of gambling.
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Even so far as to release a statement to the effect that “Chinese citizens gambling overseas and creating casinos to recruit Chinese citizens as key consumers constitute gambling offenses,” the spokeswoman for the Chinese Embassy did just that.”
“But what about those of our very own people? Because it has been shown to be so damaging and counterproductive in China, the government there has decided to abolish online gambling. If we allow internet gambling here, are we not behaving as accomplices of a vice that has proven to be so destructive and counterproductive in China?” Abante stated.
According to him, the statement made by the Department of Finance that it is difficult to measure the social costs of the POGO industry is correct. He also noted that the same could be said for the local online gaming industry.
“But if we insist on weighing the social costs of particular industries against the revenues they earn, then let’s make an earnest effort to study the effects of online gambling on our citizens,” said the lawmaker. “If we insist on weighing the social costs of particular industries against the revenues they earn, then let’s make an earnest effort to study the effects of online gambling on our
“However, as far as my viewpoint is concerned, it is impossible to place a price on the lives of individuals and families that have been wrecked as a result of participating in online gambling. Ang ibang mga OFW, mga sailor, dahil naa-adik sa sugal, wala nang maipadala sa kanilang mga pamilya. (Because of their addiction to gambling, some of our overseas Filipino workers, who are seafarers, are unable to send any money home to their family.) The more readily available gambling is, the simpler it is to succumb to the corrosive impact it can have on one’s life. “That is the effect of (online gambling),” said Abante. “That is the effect of online gaming.”
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