Executive Order Number 13 – Philippines Fight Against Illegal Gambling

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte signed Executive Order No.13 on February 2 of 2017 which took immediate effect as a Philippine gambling law and allowed for the reorganization and restructuring of governing agencies to tackle the issue of illegal gaming, head on. The motivation behind this enactment arose from the opportunity left by the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the National Bureau Investigation (NBI) after they announced a cease in anti-drug operations and jurisdiction changeover to the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency. This was ordered by President Duterte to “…thus [pinpoint] precise accountability” in the efforts against the manufacturing and distribution of illegal substances and provided the opportunity for more man-power on other issues such as illicit gaming.

This order provided clearer language for licensing authorities and operators in terms of their jurisdictional authority. Issues of ambiguity, in terms of the extent of authority a jurisdiction is allowed, rose after a number of licensing authorities overstepped their [territorial] boundaries when they began providing gambling products outside of their jurisdictional borders. Duterte has made it clear that he intends to fight all illegal forms of gaming that compete with legal gaming offers.

New Orders Under Executive Order No. 13

Executive Order No.13 allowed for new rhetoric to collectively direct law enforcement agencies such as the PNP, NBI, Department of Justice, Department of Information and Communications Technology, and Department of the Interior and Local Government to curb illicit gaming operations. These agencies, therefore, have been specially drafted in Presidents Duterte’s war against illegal gaming. In order to effectively manage the balance of power between agencies and truly define jurisdictional limitations, language in EO No. 13 clearly state what the capabilities are of each division and even provides explicit instructions for gaming jurisdictions in how they should cooperate to fulfill the government’s mission in effectively stopping illegal gaming operations. Gaming and licensing entities such as the Cagayan Economic Zone Authority, Aurora Pacific Economic Zone and Free Authority, Authority of the Freeport Area of Bataan, and the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation are required to submit reports to the Office of the President on their progress to curb illicit gaming within their jurisdictions every 6 months after EO No. 13’s signing date. Interestingly enough, PAGCOR was created under Presidential Decree No. 1067-A to tame illegal gambling through regulation.

The Executive Order aimed to clarify the extent of authority for regulating and licensing online gaming operators and addressed jurisdiction issues and confusion on the scope of authority between gaming jurisdictions. Previous confusion and disregard for boundaries contributed to the proliferation of illegal gaming within the Philippines and online. Prohibitions have been created to stop the operation of online gaming outside of economic zones in which they obtained said licensing, as well as, prohibits the sharing or transferring of said licenses to another party. Online operators that would like to offer gambling products outside of their applied jurisdiction must obtain licensing by the appropriate gaming agency.

Significant Sections of Executive Order No. 13

While the Executive Order is comprised of nine sections and is only 3-pages long, the first three sections of the Order set the tone for the entire enactment.

  • Section 1 of EO No. 13 provided for the law enforcement intensification against illegal gambling where PD No. 1602 failed and ordered the PNP, NBI, and other law enforcement agencies to “intensify the fight against illegal gambling, in coordination with concerned agencies such as the DOJ, DILG, and DICT”.
  • Section 2 of EO No. 13 outlined the Philippine definition and classification of illegal gambling as “any person who, in any manner directly or indirectly, take part in any game scheme…when such game scheme is not authorized or licensed by the government agency duly empowered by law or its charter to license or authorize the conduct of such games, or is conducted in a manner that violates the terms and conditions duly prescribed by said government agency” as well as, “all gambling activities, and activities and services directly or indirectly or in support of such gambling activities, conducted beyond the territorial jurisdiction of the government authority which issued the licensed therefor, shall be dealt with as illegal gambling”.
  • Section 3 of EO No. 13 Clarifies that only international players may engage in the services offered through the gambling sites operating within these different jurisdictions.

Other sections make up the details of the Order and can be read by following the resource underneath Additional Information.

Does Executive Order No. 13 Impact Legal Online Gambling at Offshore Gaming Sites for Philippine Players?

EO No. 13 effectively makes it so no domestic online operator licensed by one jurisdiction may offer gambling products to patrons within another jurisdiction, without first having obtained a gaming license by said jurisdiction. EO No. 13 simply fortifies current gambling laws in the Philippines by including clearer language and explicit definitions. Philippine players are still permitted to access legal offshore gaming. There is no explicit referment within EO No. 13 to legitimately licensed offshore destinations, even more so to solidify this point, in 2012 it was officially cited by government heads that Philippine online gambling is perfectly lawful if gaming sites are licensed by an offshore and legitimate gaming jurisdiction.

Expected Outcome of Executive Order No. 13

We believe these newly enacted regulations by President Duterte will assist in curbing illicit gaming within the Philippines while simultaneously correcting internal issues found between governing gaming jurisdictions.

Disclaimer

Read more on the specific details of Executive Order No. 13 by following the publicly accessible PDF file we provide as a resource under the Additional Information block. We provide insight into this law based on our own experiences within the gambling industry.  If you are seeking professional legal advice or information, we recommend that you contact a licensed attorney proficient in gambling law matters.  We do not intend to serve as or substitute for professional legal services.

Additional Information

Philippine President Duterte’s Executive Order No. 13 Document