Republic Act 9287 – Act to Increase Penalties Against Illegal Numbers Games

Republic Act 9287 was created as a response by Congress to end the public clamor for tougher laws on illegal number gambling, specifically targeting games such as Jueteng. Gambling laws in the Philippines before this Act did not provide enough of a deterrent or explicit prohibitions against illegal numbers games as loopholes observed in old anti-gambling laws allowed illegal activities such as Jueteng to flourish without much repercussion. Republic Act 9287 was enacted April 19th, 2004 and considered immediately effective and implemented 60 days after it was signed.

This Act plugged holes left by Presidential Decree No. 1602 which addressed video Karera machines only, the Act increased penalties for those involved in illegal numbers games and made no change to the penalties of those involved in other illegal gambling activities. This loophole allowed offenders to simply jump ship to another form of illegal gambling. Because of this, RA 9287 made amendments to replace the words “numbers game” with “…[any] other illegal gambling activity devised in order to elude prosecution” to circumvent said issues. RA 9287 not only created harsher penalties for illegal numbers games, it included language to target specific games like Jueteng, Masiao, Last Two, Jai Alai, and more.

The Act also amended provisions of Presidential Decree No. 1602 to bring the law to meet modern requirements. Upon the enactment of this anti-illegal gambling law, a memo was sent to provincial governors, and city and municipal mayors informing them of their automatic deputation as representatives of the National Police Commission, or NAPOLCOM, in their jurisdiction. Each official addressed had been given tasks to participate in ending illegal gambling activities within their jurisdiction and told to enhance and cultivate community involvement in said operators to end illicit gaming.

How Does Republic Act 9287 Affect Casino Gambling in the Philippines?

RA 9287 does not affect legally licensed gambling or domestic casinos within the Philippines unless they are participating in illegal activities. Due to the amended laws created by the enactment of RA 9287 any offenders found playing illegal gambling activities or in possession of illegal gaming devices shall face severe consequences as specified under Sections 3, 5, and 9. This Act is meant to effectively curb the amount of revenue illegal numbers games take from legitimately licensed sources such as the Small Town Lottery or STLs run by the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO).

The Effect of Republic Act 9287 on Philippine Online Casino Gambling

Legally licensed offshore online casinos are not affected by RA 9287 nor do they offer illegal variations of number games on their internet platform. RA 9287 can only affect domestic gambling operations and any persons maintaining said operation who participate in offering illegal numbers games and illegal gambling activities. Those internationally-based online operators who hold authorized licenses from external and offshore jurisdictions, comply with fair gaming practices, and operating standards have no need to worry about the effect of RA 9287 on their operations. Punters are permitted to still access legal offshore Philippine online casinos to enjoy a wide range of games such as keno, scratch-offs, slots, roulette, and more.

Outcome

RA 9287 has made amazing strides in properly punishing those who are engaged in illegal gambling activities, specifically illegal numbers games. Illegal numbers bookkeepers and operators in small provinces and towns are facing the crackdown on illegal gambling from their local authorities due to RA 9287. Certain territories have agencies routinely busting new gaming establishments as reports emerged of illegal betting stations which were permanently closed, offenders were dealt with for violating PD No. 1602 and RA 9287. These new implementations and actions against illegal gambling have satisfied overseeing jurisdictions such as PAGCOR and the AMLC.