This week Philippines Senator Joel Villanueva announced that he had introduced a bill in the country's Senate that would ban online gambling within the country.
The bill is officially titled the Anti-Online Gambling Act, and would knock out all forms of online betting. The bill would make it a crime to place bets online, or to offer services to gamblers in the country. Filipino gamblers who knowingly bet online would face jail sentences of up to six months as well as a fine of PHP100,000. Companies that are found to be offering services could see executives getting prison terms of up to five years with a fine of PHP500,000.
The bill is currently awaiting consideration by a legislative committee. If it gets advanced, it would be debated before being voted on. If it passes to become law, it would take effect 15 days after it is published in the country's Official Gazette, or in at least two newspapers.
There are currently only a handful of licensed operators that can offer online gaming in the country, but there is a thriving offshore industry, where companies target Filipino players.
In a statement, Senator Villanueva said, "The consequences of gambling and online gambling are too severe to be ignored. The cost of gambling is no longer limited to the loss of money, but extends to the loss of values and lives."
"This bill seeks to prohibit online gambling and the placing of wagers or bets through the internet or any form of online gambling activities to prevent further deterioration of morals and values, encourage people to work instead of relying on a game of chance, stop addiction and save lives."