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‘Online gambling in Bataan legal’

BATAAN – Bataan Gov. Abet Garcia has clarified that online gambling is allowed in the province by virtue of the mandate given to the Authority of Freeport Area of Bataan (AFAB) to operate its own gambling casinos, online gaming and other tourism-related activities.

Garcia, a former congressman, is the principal author of Republic Act 9728 that created the AFAB.

Under the revised implementing rules and regulations of R.A. 9728, AFAB can “regulate on its own, either directly or through a license to other tourism-related activities, including games, amusements, gambling casinos, horse racing and dog racing, recreational and sports facilities, subject to approval and supervision of PAGCOR, which approval must not be unreasonably witheld…”

The clarification was made by Garcia during a recent dialogue attended by top government and police officials, AFAB chairman and administrator Emmanuel Pineda.

“It is very clear under RA 9728 that AFAB can operate online gaming, gambling casinos, etc as this will generate income and employment,” Garcia said.

Grand Innovasia Concept Corp (GICC), led by its president Sheryl Tancio Lou Xiaojing, had earlier expressed deep concern and apprehension following the raid conducted at Fortune Leisure Park last Nov. 25 in Clark.

GICC is the exclusive master licensor operating an online gaming inside Bataan Freeport.

Pineda, for his part, stressed that the incident has affected their locators and future investors and “creating tension, fears, anexiety and uncertainty.”

Pineda said they have received information about an impending raid by authorities to online gaming operators, saying this is a serious matter that caused apprehension to locators. (MAR SUPNAD)