Seminar Sheds Light on Philippines and Cambodia Gambling Experience

Held at the Mandarin Samyan Hotel in Bangkok, the seminar “Lessons Learned from Managing Gambling in the Philippines and Cambodia” was arranged by the Center for Gambling Studies with assistance from the Health Promotion Fund Office. The goal of the event was to examine the legal and regulatory elements of gambling with a particular emphasis on Cambodia and the Philippines, two of Thailand’s neighbors who have allowed casinos.

Participants in the seminar debated the benefits and drawbacks of the gambling laws in Cambodia and the Philippines. The main goal was to gather insightful lessons that Thailand may apply should it choose to legalize casinos.

According to Associate Professor Lae Dilokwittayarat, Chairman of the steering committee, Thailand’s Parliament has conducted extensive studies on gambling-related laws. The key aspects under scrutiny include the legal framework, strategies for preventing social impact, business structures, and revenue allocation to the state. The initiatives put forth involve legal amendments and robust law enforcement to effectively combat illegal gambling activities.

Philippines’ Direct Regulations and Responsible Practices

Piya-orn Plianpadoong, a lecturer from the University of Phayao, highlighted the Philippines’ approach to gambling regulation. The country employs direct regulations through five laws, supplemented by three additional laws for control. PAGCOR, a state-owned organization, exclusively manages gambling operations, ensuring revenue allocation for public development and imposing penalties on officials involved in illegal gambling.

Phongsakorn Ruangdetkajorn, an independent legal expert, emphasized PAGCOR’s dual role in both licensing and operating casinos. The Philippines also regulates online gambling, restricting access for Filipinos and enforcing age restrictions. Responsible gambling practices and strict advertising guidelines are integral components of the regulatory framework.

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Dr. Kattaleeya Liamdee from the Asian Studies Institute at Chulalongkorn University shed light on Cambodia’s evolving stance on gambling. Initially targeted for casino developments, China’s anti-gambling policies redirected investments, prompting Cambodia to reassess its economic strategies. The country shifted focus towards sustainable development in urban planning, moving away from heavy reliance on casinos.

The seminar underscored the importance of robust legal frameworks, stringent enforcement, and responsible gambling practices. The experiences shared by the Philippines and Cambodia highlighted the need for countries to adopt policies that prioritize social responsibility and sustainable economic development beyond dependence on the gambling industry.

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