House games panel to probe theft, cheating and fraud in PAGCOR casinos

THE House of Representatives will dig into the alleged theft of casino chips, cheating and fraud amounting to some P200-million in losses by casinos operated by the Philippine Gaming and Amusement
Corporation (PAGCOR).

Rep. Amado Bagatsing (5th District, Manila), Chairman of the House Committee on Games and Amusements and author of House Resolution 2657, said PAGCOR, by virtue of the mandate given by law, must protect not
only the security of the games being played, more so with the income generated from the games and most of all to safeguard the interest of the government and impose the law creating the agency.

“These disturbing incidents in the casinos were all banner stories in print media and television networks, creating furor among those in the gaming industry and adversely affecting the modern integrated approach
of hotel and casino as an entertainment sector in the tourism industry,” Bagatsing said.

The author recalled that in May 2011, it was reported that an Internal Security employee allegedly carted away P10,170,000 worth of casino chips representing part of PAGCOR’s income in the Casino Filipino Pavilion. This was repeated sometime last June 2012 at the Parkway Satellite Casino in Mandaue, Cebu City, in the amount of
P2.8-million in cash.

Bagatsing also noted that a series of incidents of cheating and fraud happened from the period April to May 9th 2011 through a high tech card cutting method perpetrated allegedly by VVIP player Ben Lui and
his cohorts that led to an aggregate loss to PAGCOR of P178.266-million.

Bagatsing said Lui’s group played at the Heritage Airport Casino, applying the same modus operandi. On May 8, 2011, three of the perpetrators were caught and charged but were later out on bail.

“However, the mastermind was able to escape and made his way out of the country,” Bagatsing said.

Bagatsing said another disturbing incident of cheating and fraud was reported on May 6, 2011 at the Hyatt Casino, where another group of players used the same high-tech card cutting method.

Bagatsing  noted that PAGCOR, sensing that there was an irregularity made by the players, decided to withhold the amount of P28-million representing the players’ winnings pending investigation.

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