A dispute is brewing in The Philippines between local and national authorities as to who has the right to issue online gambling licenses.
The quarrel is between the Zamboanga City Special Economic Zone (ZSEZ) And Freeport Authority and the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCor).
The Special Economic Zone is located about 15 miles from Zamboanga on the southern island on Mindanao, and is managed as a separate customs territory. It offers incentives for would-be investors to generate local economic activities serving as a springboard for the promotion of trade, investments and tourism throughout the region.
The Presidential Assistant on Trade and the Vice Chair of ZSEZ, Christopher Arnuco, said that issuing licenses for gambling operations inside the Zone was covered by a legal opinion from Philippines Justice Secretary Raul Gonzalez, and confirmed that licenses had already been issued to Philippine E-Gaming Jurisdiction Inc (PeJI), which maintains an office in the Zone to control iGaming and other related activities.
Under the license, PeJI is empowered to receive and process all applications for and award e-gaming licenses to business operators. Yet PAGCor says that PeJI’s operation is illegal and has ordered ZSEZ authorities to stop the operation. This directive has been ignored as ZSEZ asserts that it is also authorized under law to issue licenses.
However, possible legal action could result in this power being overturned by the Department Of Justice due to the language of the legal opinion.
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