PAGCOR Arrests 36 in Crackdown on Illegal Gaming and Scams

The Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) this week led a series of operations against illegal online gaming and scams, resulting in the arrest of 36 individuals in Laguna and Parañaque City. These operations are part of an ongoing initiative to curb unlawful online activities.

On May 1, in Biñan, Laguna, a team comprising the Philippine National Police Anti-Cybercrime Group (PNP-ACG) and PAGCOR officials arrested 16 individuals involved in operating an unlicensed online raffle via the Facebook Page “Lucky Dream 4.” The raid occurred as the group was actively live-streaming their 50th raffle draw. Raul Villanueva, PAGCOR’s Senior Vice President for Security Cluster, detailed the operation, explaining that the group “has amassed over Php8 million from the time they started this illegal online operation because in one draw, they can sell as many as 50k tickets.”

The following day, May 2, law enforcement officials arrested 10 Chinese nationals and 16 Filipinos in Multinational Village, Parañaque. The suspects were apprehended for violations including the Anti Trafficking in Persons Act, Alien Registration Act, and Cybercrime Prevention Act. This group was reportedly engaged in various scamming activities, which mirrored those found in another raid on a gaming compound in Bamban, Tarlac, in March.

The raid in Parañaque also led to the seizure of numerous devices and illicit items, including 75 mobile phones, 30 desktop computers, 50 laptops, and assorted credit cards. PAGCOR Chairman and CEO Alejandro H. Tengco commented on the significance of these operations, saying, “We have been receiving reports of illegal online activities including those in social media platforms. As the country’s gaming regulator, it is our duty to protect the public – especially the youth — from these illegal online gambling sites.”

Raul Villanueva further commented on the necessity of regulation, stating, “The Lucky Dream 4 group is obviously engaged in an illegal online gaming activity. Negosyo na ang ginagawa nila. They need to secure a license from PAGCOR if they want to operate an online gaming platform.”

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