PAGCOR Employees Could Face Six Years in Prison for Tampering with Slot Machine

Posted on: July 12, 2018, 02:00h. 

Last updated on: July 12, 2018, 04:21h.

Two employees at PAGCOR (Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation) have been charged with falsifying documents related to a slot machine’s activity.

PAGCOR Philippines casino Duterte
PAGCOR’s casino in Cebu was the site of an alleged crime carried out by two agency workers. (Image: Casino Filipino Cebu)

Online media outlet Inside Asian Gaming reports that PAGCOR slot machine head regulator Lope Cristobal and slot data control worker Mark Fransisco tampered with the terminal’s payout records in an attempt to steal PHP36,200 (US $675). The incident occurred last September at Casino Filipino Cebu inside the Waterfront Cebu City Hotel, a gaming venue state-owned by PAGCOR.

Casino officials said the slot records were altered to show the machine paying out the jackpot. But staff members said no such jackpot had been hit, and no check was issued to a winner.

Waterfront executives contacted Philippine Department of Justice Prosecutor Simaco Labata to investigate.

“The act of respondents in preparing a fictitious receipt … making it appear there was a customer who won a winning jackpot from a slot machine constitutes a crime of falsification of public document,” Labata said in charing papers this week.

If found guilty, the men could face up to six years in prison.

PAGCOR Under Seize

The Philippines gaming regulator has been the target of President Rodrigo Duterte in recent months. Though PAGCOR is the country’s largest contributor of tax revenue behind only the bureaus of Internal Revenue and Customs, Duterte has directed the agency to sell off its casino assets and transition into a regulatory-only capacity.

The controversial leader has additionally seemed to threaten the government agency with firings. In May, Duterte said he had “fired and will fire” high-level PAGCOR officials, though no confirmation has been made public.

PAGCOR Chair Andrew Domingo debunked rumors she was ousted, and said the president’s firings related to gaming officials located in freeport zones.

The two PAGCOR employees accused of the jackpot theft might not be employed much longer by the agency. In January, Duterte said during a PAGCOR event his administration has zero tolerance for the gaming industry operating in any manner other than one free of corruption.

Boracay Casino Odds

In other Filipino gaming news, the rumored casino resort for Boracay Island is apparently a no-go.

The tourist destination is currently closed at Duterte’s direction and undergoing an island-wide clean up. When it reopens sometime this fall, the president says a casino won’t be permitted.

“The people go to Boracay to swim, not to gamble,” Secretary Eduardo Ano told the Philippine News Agency this week. “The president has already decided that no construction of a casino on Boracay will be allowed.”

There were rumors in the spring that the island’s closure was to allow Galaxy Entertainment to build a $500 million integrated casino resort with reduced regulatory oversight.

Based in Hong Kong and one of Macau’s six licensed casino operators, Galaxy partnered with Philippines company Leisure & Resorts on the project. Leisure & Resorts reportedly has close ties to Duterte, leading many to speculate the island’s closure was to benefit the casino development.

Duterte denounced the gossip in May saying, “You know the billionaires? They were of the belief that that island there is okay for anything. They want to build casinos there. I did not allow it. There will never be one.”