WELCOMING the new year is traditionally an occasion for making resolutions whether to drop old vices, adopt new virtues or some combination of both. For the Philippines in 2022, we hope the country, particularly those in its leadership posts, rethink its approach to gambling. Admittedly, gambling has a firm hold on popular thinking with some viewing the sector as a cash cow.
The formal gaming operators earned P78 billion in gross revenues just in the first three quarters of this year, according to the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (Pagcor). Illegal gambling is equally lucrative, which is probably why past administrations have failed to eradicate or regulate it. One popular illicit numbers game is jueteng, which sources say earn about P75 billion annually before the pandemic.
Despite its earning power, the country is better off without this vice. poster Besides the obvious moral arguments, the case for gambling lacks the economic deliverables needed for long-term development. In fact, it can be argued that gambling, even the legal operations, can attract the wrong sort of investors that can undermine progress.