On the final day of Asia’s Gem Gaming and Investment Conference in Manila, the Philippine Trade Secretary spoke on the advantages of lifting the present 40% cap on foreign investment in the gaming industry, suggesting that large world-class resorts could be developed by foreign operators. Peter B Favila said that such a move would create new jobs and help to promote the tourism industry.
The Trade Secretary went on to say that both image and public concepts about gaming are issues that need to be addressed in order to make the industry a mainstream economic activity. Government regulation should concentrate on social safeguards rather than over-regulation, by ensuring strict adherence to minimum age requirements and the proper enforcement of laws to combat crime, public disorder and money laundering. There should also be adequate protection for the public from unfair practices.
Citing the transformation of the gaming industry into a modern entertainment and leisure business, Peter Favila expressed the opinion that the valuable state resources for overseeing regulation could be better concentrated on specific gaming destinations in resorts and entertainment complexes. He called for a clearly defined regulatory framework, with a focus on setting standards that would minimize social costs and maximize tourism growth.
The Trade Secretary finished by saying that social acceptance of the gaming industry would be enhanced by it maintaining a visible pro-active social responsibility policy, and by revenues being set aside for community development projects. The positive economic impact of an effectively regulated gaming industry would then be better appreciated. (E-02.24.06)
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