Abetting addiction to gambling through casino pawnshops

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With the imminent opening of more casinos in Entertainment City, I would like to raise the issue of “responsible gambling.” Pagcor has been proclaiming its strong commitment to responsible gambling, saying it will ban gambling addicts or problem gamblers from all its premises as a way of assisting their “victimized” families.

But Pagcor has no face recognition software installed anywhere in its premises, so it is impossible for its security staff to monitor gambling addicts. In fact, it seems Pagcor is even into helping gamblers get deeper into debts by allowing the operation of pawn facilities inside casinos. This in my mind is definitely not an indication of Pagcor’s strong commitment to responsible gambling. Neither are the croupiers trained to spot problem gamblers. You would think a player who spends 24-36 hours nonstop in a casino, putting ever smaller bets on the table, might be worth a check as part of the responsible gambling ethos, but no, he’s not!

The croupiers are in fact incentivized to let gamblers continue playing as most Baccarat dealers automatically take the stake on a winning bet on Pairs, Tie and Super Six for their tipbox without even asking the players. To be fair, they mostly do that to Filipinos, not to foreign players who are more likely to object.

Pagcor should be required to install face recognition software in all casinos, and at the same time initiate a comprehensive program that will prevent banned players from entering casinos. Pagcor should also train its dealers to recognize problem gamblers.

As it stands, the present system mocks the families of gambling addicts and projects an image of an institution with no sense of social responsibility but so obsessed only with profits, whatever the cost!

—JAMES STRATTON,

mjlstratton@gmail.com

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