With the inauguration of its new casino near Manila, the capital of the Philippines, in March, Thunderbird Gaming International will become the latest entrant to the market in southeast Asia. Until a few years ago the eleven million inhabitants of Manila, and around 86 million Filipinos, could only place wagers on the charity lotteries and the illegal ‘jeuteng’ numbers game. Of course, this did not include the many traditional cockfighting contests frequently held locally.
The Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) is the state entity that controls gaming and wagering throughout the more than 70,000 island archipelago. There has recently been a rapid expansion in hotels offering slot machine parlours in Manila, and these and casino operations are licensed by PAGCOR. Online gaming is also increasing across the country.
The organization in charge of the charity draws has entered a partnership with Total Gaming Technologies Inc. to operate the game of Keno online. However, the Philippine legislature has questioned the agreement, as there was no tender process before the deal was struck. Members of the country’s parliament have accused the charity of abusing its position, and have demanded a curtailment of the functions of both the charity and PAGCOR. (E-01.18.05)
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