Philippine Senator Joel Villanueva is sponsoring a bill that, if passed, would ban all forms of online gambling in the country. Senator Villanueva is also pushing for the bill to be enacted into law as soon as possible, citing the urgency of protecting citizens against the financial and social dangers of excessive gambling.
In a statement reported on by Inquierer.net, a Philippine news site, Senator Villanueva explained the rush to pass the bill saying, “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.”
If passed into law, Senate Bill No. 1281 would shut down the country’s entire online gambling industry within 30 days of a public announcement of its passing. Under the terms of the bill, anyone caught making or receiving illicit wagers could be subject to six months in prison and a hefty fine. Corporate entities would be subject to more severe fines and a prison sentence of up to five years.
“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,” Senator Villanueva added.
Online gambling has only been legal in the Philippines since last year, but already local media is full of lurid accounts of the dangers of problem gambling – reports that no doubt helped spur the Senator into action.
It remains unclear when Senator Villanueva’s bill will be considered by the Phillipine Senate.