TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte on Wednesday (Sept. 4) rebuffed a call by China to ban online gambling, saying the move could harm the country’s economy.
Duterte supported the Southeast Asian country’s measure to license internet gambling in 2016, which has helped spur local economies. The “stupid activity” would not have been allowed if there had been many job opportunities available, Reuters quoted him as saying.
A total of 60 online gambling companies have obtained licenses from the Philippine gaming regulator. The regulator, though, has prohibited issuing new licenses since Aug. 19 in response to calls by lawmakers and cabinet members who urged the government to impose stricter regulations on Chinese visitors.
According to the report, the Philippines has seen an influx of Chinese visitors drawn by the gambling industry. While boosting property market and retail sales, their presence may cause security concerns, said the lawmakers.
China, which is ramping up its efforts to crack down on cross-border gambling, has requested that the Philippines prohibit online gambling. Beijing claims such activities have given rise to illegal recruitment of workers and fund embezzlement by foreign criminals, wrote Reuters.