Rodrigo “Rody” Roa Duterte has made a few faux pas in the course of his political career. A few weeks ago, Duterte campaigned for more acceptance for the gaming sector in the Philippine capital of Manila. Bizarre, because not so long ago the head of state demonized gambling. Without well-functioning player protection and education, the liberalization of gambling is of course dangerous. Just recently we reported about a gambling addict who lost around 150,000 euros in an online casino within a very short time.
“Go ahead and play”
His formulation “Go ahead and play” leaves little room for interpretation. On the contrary: Duterte is even more precise and says: “Now that we need money, the most sensible thing to do is to support such activities”. More precisely, the Filipino population has been allowed to gamble without major restrictions since mid-July this year. With this line of argument, however, one could put the drug trafficking completely open. This, too, could ultimately generate high tax revenues.
Like all other countries in the world, the Philippines are struggling with the economic consequences of the corona pandemic. Tourism in the country in particular has collapsed almost completely since the pandemic. Since then there has been a corresponding emptiness in the state coffers. The Philippine head of state is now trying to generate more tax revenue through gambling activities. For this reason, Duterte admonished the gambling companies in the current context that they should properly pay taxes.
The Philippines is a state and archipelago in Southeast Asia with over 7,600 islands. In total, more than 109 million people live here. The capital of the Philippines is Manila. The head of state and head of government has been Rodrigo Duterte since June 2016.
Casinos were allowed to open in lockdown
While other shops had to close during the second corona wave, the Philippine head of state surprisingly allowed Chinese casino operators to open. In a slightly older article, we asked ourselves whether players change their gaming behavior in lockdown. While even religious institutions in the Philippines had to close, guests were allowed to continue to sit at the roulette or blackjack table. This caused displeasure among the Archbishop of Ozamis, Martin Jumoad:
“The Philippines are moving from being the only Christian nation in East Asia to being the main gambling country in the Far East”.
As recently as December last year, we reported on the introduction of a 5% betting tax on cockfights. These have traditionally been held in the Philippines for a long time.
It is of course highly questionable whether it is a good decision to suddenly liberalize gambling with almost no restrictions in the midst of an economic crisis. After all, many people in the Philippines are currently struggling with the consequences of the corona pandemic and are mostly also in a precarious financial situation. It is certainly not a good idea to start playing on a large scale and place high hopes on it as a state or a player.