Philippine National Police Intensifies Crackdown on Illicit Gambling Activities

The Philippine National Police (PNP) has achieved considerable achievements in combating illegal gaming, apprehending roughly 41,000 people through 50,000 targeted operations in 2023. During a formal statement, PNP Chief Police General Benjamin Acorda acknowledged the PNP’s recent accomplishments. These operations are primarily concerned with the abolition of unauthorized internet gambling activities, particularly in light of the recent cancellation of licenses given to many Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators (POGOs) due to infractions and claims of criminal participation.

Cracking Down on illicit Online Gambling

The PNP’s concerted efforts have been aimed at limiting the spread of illicit online gambling, a sector that operates beyond the scope of existing laws. General Acorda shed light on the difficulties that law enforcement organizations confront, noting out that the lack of particular legislation regulating internet betting poses obstacles in bringing concrete evidence before the courts. He did, however, emphasize the PNP’s commitment to working with competent entities to remove these criminal online platforms.

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The Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO), an agency under the President’s Office, has joined forces with the PNP to combat unlawful gaming. The PCSO, which is in charge of supporting national medical programmes through charity sweepstakes, races, and lotteries, is actively collaborating with the PNP to ensure a comprehensive approach to addressing this issue.

General Acorda emphasized one of the key focal points of the PNP’s current campaign against illegal gambling: online cockfighting tournaments, colloquially known as “E-Sabong.” Licensing for this activity expired in May 2022, at the end of Rodrigo Duterte’s presidency. To combat such illegal acts, the PNP’s Anti-Cybercrime Group conducts continual cyber patrolling operations.

While the PNP has made considerable progress, General Acorda acknowledged the force’s ongoing enforcement issues. The lack of clear legal rules relevant to online betting has hampered their ability to successfully prosecute perpetrators. Nonetheless, the PNP is devoted to its goal, utilizing every possible resource in concert with other agencies to shut down these websites.

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