Pampanga councilor urges Pagcor to probe poker club

Reynaldo G. Navales

ANGELES CITY -- A councilor in this city asked the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (Pagcor) to conduct an investigation regarding the establishment of poker club at the friendship area situated near schools, churches and urban poor communities.

Oppositionist Councilor Carmelo Lazatin Jr. made the move a few days after opposing the establishment of sports betting at the Nepo Mart area.

During the recent session at the City Council, Lazatin voted against the establishment of a poker club located at the commercial district of Anunas village.

In his letter dated April 18, Lazatin asked Pagcor chair and chief executive officer Andrea Domingo to “look into the matter” after the establishment of the Poker Sports Club located at Prince Hotel in Riverside Subdivision in Anunas village.

“It violates the applicable radial distance restrictions as per Section 2 under Regulation 3 of the Gaming Site Regulatory Manual Version 2.2 for electronic and bingo games set by Pagcor,” Lazatin stated.

Under the Gaming Site Regulatory Manual Version 2.2 dated September 21, 2016, a poker gaming site must be at least 200 meters away from schools, places of worship/churches, horse racing outlets, public markets, informal settlers and resettlement areas, according to Lazatin.

He added that the said poker club is located near American International Learning Academy, Amen Mission Christian School, Gentry International School, Jesus Christ the Eternal Word Parish, Iglesia ni Cristo locale of Friendship and an urban poor area in Anunas village.

The Angeles City Council majority bloc approved recently Resolution number 7648 entitled “Resolution interposing no objection to the establishment, maintenance and operation of Pagcor licensed Archer 88 Entertainment Incorporated of Poker Sports Club located at Prince Hotel, Ganges St., Corner Yangtze St., Riverside Subdivision, Barangay Anunas, Angeles City” sponsored by Councilor Carlito Ganzon.

Lazatin and Councilor Jesus Sangil opposed the passage of the resolution during the City Council’s regular session number 5 dated February 21.

During the session, Lazatin asked Ganzon to put on record the names of the registered owners of the poker club.

Ganzon, as recorded in the minutes of the session, replied “Korean, wala dito sa Pilipinas. Yung koreanong sinasabi ni konsehal, anak ng tatay at nanay niya.”

Ganzon further said that “hindi ko alam ang pangalan wala dito sa Pilipinas.”

Lazatin said that as approving body, the City Council “must know every detail of the resolution.”

“Ito ang trabaho ko bilang konsehal ng siyudad,” Lazatin said.

Lazatin also opposed the establishment of electronic bingo, “instawin” and the controversial sports betting at the New Point Mall, which is adjacent to major schools and universities, the Holy Rosary Parish Church and the city’s heritage district, which is one of the major projects of City Mayor Edgardo Pamintuan.

“I will continue this crusade to protect our youth against vices,” he remarked.