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‘NATIONAL CONVERSATION’ ON ONLINE GAMBLING PUSHED

A House leader is hopeful that many more leaders in the country will recognize the ill effects of online gambling after President Rodrigo Duterte earlier this week admitted that initially allowing online cockfighting created “disorder” and inflicted “pain” in society because it caused families to fall apart.

Deputy Speaker Benny Abante Jr. on Thursday said “the President should be credited for recognizing the adverse impact of online gambling on Filipino families, as this may convince other leaders to reevaluate their positions on online gambling in their respective jurisdictions.”

The legislator urged elected officials to consult their constituents to find out firsthand how online gambling platforms were affecting their communities.

According to Abante: “As I have said many times before, the negative effects of gambling are well-documented; but online gambling is even more worrisome because it makes this vice so much more accessible to a greater percentage of our population.”

“The President’s recent statements regarding e-sabong, together with indications that President-elect Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. will prohibit online cockfighting during his administration, are good omens. However, I will not be surprised if there will be pressure to resume e-sabong operations given the billions of profits that online cockfighting operators will lose,” the lawmaker pointed out.

“Given this, I believe a national conversation regarding online gambling is necessary and overdue… so we can craft and pass legislation that will either heavily regulate online gambling, or better yet, prohibit it completely.”

The President earlier narrated how e-sabong was responsible for destroying families, and lamented that “pag na-dysfunctional, sige away; maghiwalay ‘yan… pag nag-away ‘yan, gulo na ang pamilya, maghiwalay, ang mga bata…”

“As I have said many times before, the negative effects of gambling are well-documented; but online gambling is even more worrisome because it makes this vice so much more accessible to a greater percentage of our population.”

Abante acknowledged that the national government and even local government units could raise revenues from online gambling, but stressed that “all the evidence shows that the societal costs of online gambling far outweigh its pecuniary benefits.”

The legislator urged elected officials to consult their constituents to find out firsthand how online gambling platforms were affecting their communities.

“I believe they will discover that online gambling is a creeping vice… a virus that is quietly spreading in our communities, afflicting the young and the old, the rich and the poor––a virus that we have to contain and eliminate.”

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