Philippines – Fontana Casino closed in the Philippines following online raidsBy Phil - 5 December 2016
Fontana Leisure Parks & Casino, a hotel and casino resort located in Clark Field, a former US air base, in Freeport Zone, Pampanga, has been closed following raids by The Philippine Bureau of Immigration.
The casino, which was shut down due to lack of permits, legal documents and immigration papers, is also believed to have housed the backroom team for an illegal online casino. The raid led to the arrest of 1,316 allegedly undocumented Chinese workers.
The gaming operation is reportedly owned by Jack Lam Yin Lok, Founder of Jimei Group, who operates Fontana casino in the Philippines and Jimei Casino on the Macau peninsula, as well as being a major player in Macau’s VIP junket industry. His arrest has been ordered by Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte over bribery and economic sabotage charges.
PAGCOR (Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation) and Angeles City Police Office shut down the main casino and 15 casino rooms.
Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II said that Lam had tried to bribe Pagcor Chairwoman Andrea Domingo to allow Fontana to continue its online gaming operations while applying for a license in exchange for a one per cent commission from the income of the gaming operations.
There were calls that the President’s arrest order was unenforceable.
The Philippine National Police Director General, Ronald Dela Rosa, said: “We will look for a way to enforce the President’s orders. We will take full responsibility if we will be charged with illegal arrest as long as we have a basis.”
However Lam’s lawyer Raymond Fortun claimed that his client ‘had no reason to bribe anyone as his operations are legitimate.’
He claims Lam has an existing license to conduct online gaming in the Clark Economic Zone.
The raid follows the granting of 35 offshore gaming licenses by PAGCOR as part of the roll-out of the Philippines’ new online gaming regime.
The licensees, known as the Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators (Pogo) have been made available to Philippine-based operators or those with businesses with headquarters in the Philippines.
Pagcor said their introduction aimed to ‘safeguard the welfare of the Filipinos and at the same time meet the agency’s revenue targets to help fund the government’s nation-building programs.’