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President orders closure of all online gaming in PH

President Duterte has ordered the immediate shutdown of online gaming in the country.

“I am ordering the closure of all online gaming,” Duterte said in a speech after signing the General Appropriates Act of 2017 in Malacanang yesterday. “All of it. It has no use.”

According to the President, he has ordered the closure of the industry because the government has no mechanism to strictly monitor it.

The move was a complete turnaround to Duterte’s declaration last August that he may allow e-game firms to resume operations, provided they pay the right taxes that his administration can keep as trust fund for social services.

“Ibabalik ko online provided taxes are correctly collected and they are situated in places or districts where gambling is allowed, meaning not within a certain distance from church and school,” Duterte had said. “Pay the correct taxes, gamble your wealth until your death, I don’t care. Just pay taxes and this will add to a special trust fund for medicine of poor people,” he added.

With the closure order, the apparent renewal of PhilWeb Corp.’s license to operate is in jeopardy.

PhilWeb Corp.’s eGame cafés will soon become operational again before the year ends after state regulator Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. had announced that it will issue a new license to the Philippine-based gaming technology provider.

Duterte had singled out businessman and former Marcos Finance Minister Roberto Ongpin, who headed PhilWeb until he offered to donate 49 percent of his 53.76 percent share to Pagcor in the hope of having the firm’s license renewed. (Roy C. Mabasa)