By Floro Mercene
“Gaming” is defined as an act of playing games; the practice of gambling; playing electronic games, whether through consoles, computers, mobile phones, or another medium altogether.
Whatever the definition, a person indulges in gaming to be entertained. It is on this premise that the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (Pagcor) set the byword of its Responsible Gaming Program – Keep it fun.
When the alleged “terrorists” that set the Resorts World on fire last June 3 was identified as a gambling addict, the public asked Pagcor if it had systems in place which could have prevented it.
Last May 24, 2017, Pagcor issued an advisory to its licensees in light of the terrorist activities in Mindanao to increase security preparedness to insure safety in their properties. But as early as 2013, Pagcor created and implemented the Responsible Gaming (RG) Code of Practice.
It also set up the web address email@example.com to make application forms for player exclusion available to anyone around the world who intends to have himself or his immediate relative barred from gaming establishments in the Philippines.
Pagcor or its licensees may also enter information on players into a database of persons prohibited from playing. From September, 2013, to the end of May, 2017, a total of 748 have been banned. With the expiration of 342 person, 406 remained in the list as of May 31, 2017.
Pagcor’s RG program likewise imposes limited access to gaming facilities such that persons under 21 years old, government officials, and members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines are prohibited from playing.
To maintain the integrity of the conduct of games, Pagcor disallowed employees of licensees and the immediate relatives of government officials among those not allowed to play.
An awareness campaign is also required from gaming operators to educate both its employees and patrons about problem gambling.
Since 2013, licensees have set up RG signages, collaterals, notices in their player membership booklets, and pages in their official websites.
Managers and staff of all gaming operators are obliged to undergo seminars on how to spot a problem gambler and what to do when confronted by problem gamblers or relatives.
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