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Japan’s Casino Regulatory Commission Holds its Inaugural Meeting

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Japan’s Casino Regulatory Commission has held its first meeting on Friday. At the meeting, the five members of the commission, including its head, Michio Kitamura, discussed rules regulating its operations. It will also work on drawing up regulations on resort operators.

“The members of the commission and staff of its secretariat will unite and work with a sense of urgency to build trust with the public over casino business,” Kitamura said.

He also stressed the commission’s resolve to deal appropriately with casino-related concerns among the public, such as gambling addiction and a potential rise in crime.

“I plan to supervise our staff at the secretariat so that the commission’s fairness and neutrality will not be questioned,” Kitamura said.

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The commission, affiliated with the Cabinet Office, was established last Tuesday. Like the Nuclear Regulation Authority, the commission has independent authority, being able to issue licenses necessary to run casinos in Japan and cancel the licenses if irregularities are found.

The secretariat currently has 95 workers, and the number will be increased by 25 in fiscal 2020, which starts April 1. The envisaged casino regulations, including mandatory measures to prevent gambling addiction, will likely be drawn up by spring 2021.

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PAGCOR SEEKS GCG APPROVAL TO IMPLEMENT SALARY STEP INCREMENT

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The Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation said it has asked the Governance Commission for GOCCs (GCG) for approval of salary step increments based on employees’ length of service to correct distortions caused by its new Compensation and Position Classification System (CPCS).

In a letter to GCG Chairperson Atty. Marius Corpus dated February 22, 2024, PAGCOR Chairman and CEO Alejandro H. Tengco said the PAGCOR Board of Directors has approved the implementation of step increments but it needs GCG approval.

“Parallel to the thrust of the PAGCOR Board of Directors to prioritize the welfare of the employees, the PAGCOR Board approved the Implementation of Step Increment based on Length of Service, subject to GCG’s review and approval,” he said in the letter.

The PAGCOR chief said the step increment is only the first of many appeals that the agency plans to lodge with the GCG so that PAGCOR employees may enjoy competitive salaries and benefits comparable to other revenue-generating GOCCs.

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PAGCOR received its Authority to Implement the CPCS on January 31 this year. However, majority of the employees were dismayed to see that their take-home pay decreased when they received their salaries on the first payday under CPCS on February 15, 2024.

The CPCS also caused distortions in pay scale since all employees were reverted to Pay Step 1 regardless of their years of service. This means that a new employee in a certain position gets the same salary as someone who has been in the same position for 15 years or more.

Chairman Tengco said the Step Increment appeal is only the first of many which the agency plans to lodge with the GCG to remedy the overall decrease in employees’ take home pay, especially for those who occupy the lowest rungs in the organization.

“We hope that the GCG will positively respond to our appeal so that all tenured PAGCOR employees will not feel shortchanged, and instead receive the compensation that they deserve under the bounds of the law,” he added.

A provision under the CPCS implementing guidelines states that “one step increment shall be granted to qualified personnel for every three years of continuous satisfactory service in the present position.”

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Records show that as of December 31, 2023, a total of 7,057 PAGCOR personnel or 72.60% of the agency’s workforce have been in service for more than three years in their respective positions.

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Asia

BIGGER PRIZES UP FOR GRABS IN UPCOMING PAGCOR LINKED BINGO GAMES

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BINGO aficionados are in for another treat as the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) brings back its popular linked bingo games dubbed “Mas Pinasayang Bingo Big Time Milyonaryo” on March 17, 2024 at the Le Pavillon Metropolitan Park in Pasay City.

Up to Php2 million in prizes will be up for grabs in Game 10 while a guaranteed pot of Php1 million each is at stake in the first nine games of the event.

Interested players may join through the host site or at Casino Filipino branches in Angeles, Bacolod, Cebu, Grand Regal, Ilocos Norte, Iloilo, Mactan, Mandaue, Olongapo, Tagaytay, Tagum and Talisay.

For every ticket worth Php3,000, participants will get to play four cards per game for 10 games.

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The “Mas Pinasayang Bingo Big Time Milyonaryo” is a fitting sequel to the “Paskong Big Time Bingo Milyonaryo” linked bingo games held last December where seven lucky players won Php1 million each.

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PAGCor Says 188BET’s Return to the Philippines a Huge Vote of Confidence

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The Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCor) today said that it welcomes the decision of online gaming giant 1888BET to move its operations from the Isle of Man back to the Philippines.

The Chairman and Chief Executive Officer for PAGCor, Alejandro H Tengco, said 188BET’s return ‘is a huge vote of confidence for the country as a regulatory haven and this is precisely what PAGCor is working hard at’.

“188BET’s move is a very positive response to our call for gaming investors to come to the Philippines,” Tengco said. “We would like to assure 188BET and other potential investors that PAGCor shall continue to be fair to everybody and that there will be a level playing field with a predictable and dependable regulatory framework.”

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188BET announced its decision to move its operations to the Philippines earlier this week. The sports betting and casino company said that, effective March 19, its current operator, Cube Limited, will surrender its current Io MGSC licence in the Isle of Man and that 188BET will be operated by a new Philippines-based company, BestCommerce Corporation, which is licensed and regulated by PAGCor.

Tengco encouraged other investors to ride on the Philippine gaming industry’s growth momentum.

“Overall, the industry can expect sustained growth in the next five years with at least one integrated resort (IR) opening every year beginning this year in Quezon City to be followed by new IRs in Cebu, Clark and other equally strategic locations,” Tengco said.

He added that the industry can also expect PAGCor’s full decoupling from its casino operations within that time frame to become a purely regulatory entity dedicated to overseeing growth and attracting more investments.

“We shall also continue lowering our license fees and modernizing our systems to help realize our vision of making the Philippines the gold standard in gaming in the Asia-Pacific region,” Tengco said.

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188BET used to hold office in Makati but it moved out of the country during the administration of former President Rodrigo Duterte.

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