QUEZON City lawmakers are planning to introduce a regulatory system on the operation of games of chance, including casino games, a year before the construction of a P20-billion hotel and casino here in 2018.
District 4 Councilor Ivy Xenia Lagman said they have already laid out provisions to regulate the operations of a casino as embodied in a proposed ordinance she and fellow Councilors Franz Pumaren (District 3), Raquel Malangen and Marvin Rillo (District 4), and Godofredo Liban II (District 2) had authored.
“I know they [casino operator] want to put up such. There are feelers, but we have not received any formal [document],” she told the Manila Standard .
“We are just readying regulations on games, including casino [games] before any casino [resort] is put up,” Lagman added.
To be covered under the proposal are electronic games, bingo, carnivals, casino, off-track betting station, cockfighting, and other games of chance.
Any city resident who enters and plays in such gambling establishments must pay a P1,500 entrance fee for every consecutive 24 hours, and/or P30,000 to any establishment requiring an annual membership fee, the proposal adds.
While the operation of a casino could bring large revenues to the city government, Lagman said “the welfare of the people” is also important.
“If you look at the proposed [gaming] measure, there are too many restrictions,” she added.
Casino mogul Enrique Razon, Bloomberry Resorts Corp. chairman and founder, is pushing for the construction of a P20-billion hotel and casino that will rise in a P1.9 billion 15,676-square meter lot on the Vertis North development along Agham Road that may start mid-2018 and could be finished in 2019.
The property was acquired from the National Housing Authority by Sureste Properties Inc., the hotel and resort development arm of Bloomberry.
Razon is the owner and operator of the highly successful Solaire Resort and Casino at the Pagcor Entertainment City in Parañaque City.
Under Section 1 of Republic Act No. 9487, the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. must obtain the consent of the local government unit that has a territorial jurisdiction over the operation site.
District 2 Councilor Roderick Paulate told the Manila Standard “the welfare of the constituents matters, too.”
Meanwhile, District 1 Councilor Victor Ferrer Jr. said “no, I do not want (a casino operation here) ever since before.”
Lagman, however, gave the assurance of strict regulation of “games of chance” in the city and the establishment of a “code of practice for responsible gambling.”
She said no gambling facility shall be allowed to operate within a 200-meter radius of any place of worship, or schools and other learning institutions, nor within a 300-meter radius of a similar gaming establishment.
The proposal requires the gambling operator to “exert genuine efforts in creating awareness among its patrons about the problem of gambling,” and that all employees of the operator shall be trained on responsible gambling, be able to detect gambling problem of their patrons, and prevent a problem gambler from continuously playing.
A “responsible gambling advisory council” shall be made available 24/7 to assist problem gamblers, the proposal adds.
The 18-page primer of the proposed ordinance said compulsive gambling behavior or problem gambling could cause “considerable harm to individuals, families and communities.”
“As such, it is the policy of the Quezon City government to protect its citizens from the adverse effects of gambling through the introduction of a broad range of strategies and policy interventions,” it added.
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