Jack Lam Lambasted by President Duterte, Philippines Revokes Casino License

Posted on: December 8, 2016, 02:00h. 

Last updated on: December 8, 2016, 01:00h.

Jack Lam is a wanted man in the Philippines, and the Southeast Asian island country is trying to entice the Chinese citizen to return by revoking the casino license at his Fontana Hot Spring Leisure Parks resort in Clark.

Jack Lam Philippines Rodrigo Duterte
The Fontana Leisure Parks & Casino is closed in Clark after Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte ordered local officials to revoke Jack Lam’s gaming license. (Image: fontana.com.ph)

Filipino authorities are accusing Lam of operating illegal online gaming websites without the appropriate permits. Lam also allegedly tried to bribe high-up officials at the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR).

According to reports, Lam offered one percent of his online gaming revenue to PAGCOR Chairwoman Andrea Domingo in exchange for the agency looking the other way while his iGaming application was reviewed. Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte issued a warrant for Lam’s arrest last weekend.

Despite rumors of his sighting in the Philippines, Lam is nowhere to be found. In what’s likely an attempt to entice Lam back to his Fontana property, the Clark Development Corporation (CDC) revoked the casino’s license and ordered the “closure and cessation of operations.”

The order puts some 500 people out of work just days before Christmas. The Philippines is the third-largest Roman Catholic country in the world.

Must Pass Rodrigo

Lam is understandably absent from the Philippines. Since Duterte has taken office, his presidential reign has been doused in controversy.

He’s instructed law enforcement agencies, or hit squads depending on the observer, to disrupt illegal drug and gambling organizations. Duterte’s “shoot first, ask questions later” approach has led to the deaths of roughly 6,000.

But with Lam, Duterte is trying to give an appearance of diplomacy and reasoning. Duterte told reporters this week that Lam has made contact and is willing to negotiate in order to evade criminal charges.

“He only pays one percent, but the rest of the guys there are paying 10 percent,” Rodrigo said, as reported by The Philippines Star. “Because he has offered to come back, pay his tax bill, liabilities, whatever . . . I said, just pay taxes, don’t bribe anybody.”

Duterte said he would allow Lam to renew his casino operations once Lam pays up on his alleged bill. Lam has issued no statement on the proceedings.

Will Trump Play

Duterte became the president of the Philippines in June, and over the past six months, world leaders have struggled with how to handle the ruthless leader. In October, President Obama cancelled a scheduled meeting with the Filipino president after Duterte said Obama can “go to hell.”

But Duterte has spoken favorably of President-elect Donald Trump, likely due to the future 45th president’s willingness to work with Vladimir Putin. Duterte favors relations with China and Russia over the United States.

Duterte claims he recently spoke to Trump on the telephone, and that the incoming president is supportive of his violent regime.

“I could sense a good rapport, an animated President-elect Trump,” Duterte told reporters. “He was wishing me success in my campaign against the drug problem.”