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Philippines President Duterte change tune on online gambling

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Philippines President Duterte change tune on online gambling

Once an ardent critic of all gambling activities, having quashed new casino developments in Boracay and Manila, Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte now considers gambling a necessary source of funds to fight the COVID-19 pandemic.

Duterte outlined his views during a meeting with political party officials on Wednesday, 7 July 2021, with state-owned Philippine News Agency reporting that online gambling was among the topics of discussion.

“Why did I allow gambling? We don’t have money. Now that we need money the most sensible thing is really just to encourage those activities. Though it may sound not really repulsive but maybe repugnant to some, you have to deal with it because we need money for the country.” Said the President.

Duterte famously quashed a proposed US$500 million casino development in Boracay by Macau’s Galaxy Entertainment Group in partnership with Leisure and Resorts World Corp after issuing an Executive Order canceling the casino licenses of all casino operators on the island.

Despite this, the nation’s much-discussed Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators (POGO) industry and more recently a PIGO scheme allowing casino operators to provide online gaming to locals have been developed under Duterte’s watch.

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