Council Mulls Next Move on E-bingo Past PAGCOR Clarification
June 27, 2015
BAGUIO CITY – The city council will study its next move on e-Bingo operations in the city following clarification on the circumstances and procedures involved in the issuance of license by the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR).
The body on Monday tasked its committee on laws under Councilor Richard Carino to study and recommend succeeding actions in the light of the revelation by PAGCOR representatives that there is a way to revoke the gaming license and that is to cancel the business permits issued by the local government.
The move is protracted to center on the information that another kind of online betting game called e-Games has been allowed to operate in an area within the border of the city and Tuba town. The said e-Games is cause for concern in the city because it is known to offer casino-style online gambling.
Casino has been banned in the city by virtue of city council resolutions prodded by massive church-led campaigns.
PAGCOR representatives Gaming Licensing and Development Department remote gaming unit senior manager Nelia Lorenzo and Corporate and Legal Services Department senior legal counsel Arnie Salvosa said that cancellation of the business permit granted an entity by the local government is one of PAGCOR’s bases in annulling the gaming license.
They said this is because based on PAGCOR charter, business permit is proof of the local government’s consent to the e-Bingo operation. It was only in June 2012 that PAGCOR required a letter of no objection (LONO) from the local governments before allowing bingo joints to operate in a locality.
The e-Bingo joints in SM Baguio and Baguio Center Mall were granted licenses on November 2010 or before June 2012 and thus were given the go signal on the basis of only the business permits granted by the local government. The outlets started operatin in September 2011 and in December 2010, respectively.
The e-Bingo outlet at the Centerpoint Plaza in Bakakeng Central started operating last year based on an alleged resolution of consent by the city council, the authenticity of which was later questioned. Last May, the body formally gave the green light.
The PAGCOR representatives said the licenses are renewed every two years without anymore requirement for a new LONO. SM joint’s license will expire on in January 2017, Center Mall in March 2016 and Centerpoint in May 2017.
When informed of the signature campaign against the e-bingo outlets as presented by Councilor Betty Lourdes Tabanda, Salvosa stopped short of saying that the signatures numbering 20,000 are immaterial because their sole basis is the go signal of the city officials.
Salvosa said as per their procedure in revoking licenses, the request of the local government is referred to the legal department for study and recommendation to the board of directors. The board will decide and the operator will be asked to comment.
Two more applications for e-bingo outlets in Maharlika Livelihood Center and the Albergo Hotel are currently in the works and both will require LONOs.
Meanwhile, the body asked PAGCOR representatives to verify the location where the approved e-Games outlet will operate in Tuba in the light of the unresolved boundary issue between the city and Tuba.
The named location is included in the unresolved portion, according to Vice Mayor Edison Bilog.
The city’s anti-casino measures include Resolution No. 236 series of 1991 entitled “A Resolution opposing the return of casino to Baguio or the establishment of a new one under any other form or guise,” Resolution No. 122-02 entitled “Expressing the Sentiment of the People of Baguio and the Policy of the City Government against Gambling…” and Resolution No. 446 series of 2008 “Vigorously opposing the establishment of a casino or the conduct of a gambling activities at Camp John Hay and anywhere in the city…”/A Refuerzo