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Bill proposes P3,500 casino entrance fee

A bill filed in the 16th Congress could turn casino gambling into a vice that’s strictly meant for high-rollers.

Misamis Oriental first district Rep. Peter Unabia proposed the imposition of a P3,500 casino entrance for all Filipino residents as a means of preventing “financially inadequate” people from entering such establishments.

Unabia’s House Bill (HB) No. 4859, “An Act imposing the payment of entrance fee to residents of the Philippines who patronize casinos,” is pending with the House Committee on Games and Amusements.

“The imposition of an entrance fee will discourage the locals from gambling in casinos,” Unabia said, adding that other countries have adopted policies as deterrents to their own locals from patronizing casinos.

He noted that in Singapore, the government prohibits the unemployed, people on welfare and people who have filed for bankruptcy protection from entering casinos. Its government also obliges all permanent residents to pay $100 (Singapore dollars) as entrance levy.

Unabia also cited Monaco where local residents are not allowed entry at all while foreigners who enter casinos are charged entrance fees. In India, local patrons are charged 200 rupees as an entrance fee.

The bill amends Presidential Decree (PD) No. 1869, as amended, otherwise known as “Consolidating and Amending Presidential Decree Nos. 1067-A, 1067-B, 1067-C, 1399 And 1632, Relative to the Franchise and Powers of the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR).”

Unabia said the charter of PAGCOR yields no requirement of an entry fee for anyone who wants to play in the casino.

However, he noted that Section 14 (3) (b) of Presidential Decree 1869 states that a resident must have a gross income of at least P50,000 for the previous year, as certified by the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) in order to be allowed to play.”

“In reality, however, this requirement is neither observed nor imposed,” he said.

Unabia said PAGCOR has been implementing their built-in controls such as the issuance of player tracking system (PTS) cards or loyalty cards for casino patrons; betting at minimum bets of P500 in a single play for baccarat tables and establishment of casinos in locations where financially inadequate individuals cannot enter including luxury resorts and three-star hotels at the minimum.

Aside from the hefty entrance fee, the bill also proposes to limit to only two guests those allowed entry into the casino provided that the guests are residents of the Philippines and will also pay the entrance fee required.

Unabia said the amount realized in requiring entrance fees will serve as additional revenues for the socio-civic programs of the government as mandated by PD 1869.

  • Taton Pido

    magiging malaya na ang mga politikong magsugal ng magsugal kasi wala ng ordinaryong tao na makakakita kung paano nila nilulustay sa sugal ang pera ng bayan.

  • Lito S.

    Unabia, magisip ka naman ng original na idea, huwag na copy ng copy na lang para maipakita na may accomplishment ka.

  • ChatoP

    Why a fee? — Why can’t the casinos provide more promotions to
    get people to spend money. Providing transportation is one good promo too.
    — Fee is like stealing money from their own tax payers.

  • Avery_23

    That’s an excellent idea! Heard from the grapevine that one person already died (suicide) because his father gambled it all away.

  • LBchild

    I hope this bill will pass. I have friends who lose their entire monthly salary due to their addiction. Please help them get rid of their vice legislators.

  • stevenorton

    There is one big difference in comparing the Philippines entry fee to that of Singapore, because Singapore prepared their bill before operators were asked to make major investments in casino facilities. And they limited gaming to just 2 develpoers and provided a low tax rate to encourage larger investments. Now the Philippines is adding a local entry fee, after investments have already been made.

    • Dereck Hann

      That is quite a huge difference. However, this move may also affect traffic positively for the casinos operators. There have been countless times where I was unable to play in a roulette table because a lot of “free-riders” just sitting down and watching or people sitting down betting 100 to 500 pesos per spin. I can’t tell you how frustrating this is for me (and I imagine many others). This can also be seen in other tables and even slot machines. Which is one of the biggest reason why I don’t like Resorts World in Manila.

      Imposing an entrance fee not only prevents people who can’t afford from throwing their life even further down, this also controls the quality of patrons entering the casino which would lead to better experience for everyone (staffs included), and may result in better revenue.

      But I agree though, it would have been wiser to have done this prior to establishing international-grade casino operations.

  • sea eagle

    Good bill Rep.Unabia,P4000.00 will be a good number.Enough said,lets get it on Rep.mabuhay ka.