Online and offshore gaming operators, holding a license issued by the Cagayan Economic Zone Authority (CEZA) but operating under another jurisdiction than CEZA’s are said to be the company’s main taxpayers, totalling more than 80% of its income.
Rappler media reported that on Wednesday, 2nd August, Cagayan Economic Zone Authority CEO and administrator Raul Lambino revealed that more than 80% of the company’s income is derived from “illegal” gambling operations.
In a press conference, Mr.Lambino explained that the revenues are derived by offshore and online operators, which are licensed by CEZA, but operate outside CEZA’s jurisdiction, which is responsible to administer justice within Santa Ana’s borders in Cagayan province. Thus, the aforementioned operators have the license to operate, but not the proper one.
Earlier this year, to be more accurate on 2nd February, the current President of the Philippines Rodrigo Duterte signed the so-called the Executive Order No. 13, which seeks to fight against any illegal gambling practices.
Duterte urged all the regulatory bodies and law enforcement agencies to join forces, aiming to weed out the illicit gambling operations, which have a negative impact on the proliferating law-abiding gambling operators. Moreover, Mr.Duterte clearly pointed out the practical authorities and responsibilities to legal bodies such as CEZA.
Furthermore, it was January when President Duterte indicted CEZA’s former administrator Jose Mari Ponce for bribery. Mr. Duterte accused the company’s former official of embezzling P300 billion.
Mr.Lambino pointed out that most of the unlawful licensees are targeting the markets of Makati, Clark Freeport, Manila, and Mandaluyong. The administrator explained that CEZA will open its books of accounts for investigation and slap the wrongdoers on the wrist. He added that the company will firstly issue warnings to the operators, which went on the wrong side of the law. The gaming sites, which are operating outside CEZA’s jurisdiction need to be licensed by the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR).
The implementation of Duterte’s Order will not harm the country’s economy itself, but only CEZA’s income as it was estimated that more than 80% of its revenues are derived by such online or offshore gaming operators, which are operating elsewhere but in Santa Ana. Thus, the company’s income will significantly drop down, expecting to be even at a negative rate for the coming three years.
Cagayan Economic Zone Authority (CEZA) is appointed by the government to manage and control the development of the Cagayan Special Economic Zone and Freeport (CSEZFP). When it comes to the gaming industry, it is within CEZA’s power to issue or cancel licenses to gambling operators. But by law, CEZA-licensed online operators cannot accept wagers made by Philippine residents. That is the reason why Mr.Duterte issued the Executive Order No. 13 to curb such illicit practices.