17 Feb 2017
- By Cherrie Anne E. Villahermosa - email@example.com - Variety News Staff
A MEMBER of the Commonwealth Casino Commission commended the House of Representatives for creating a gaming committee and expressed support for a bill that will allow the commission to regulate poker machines.
Commissioner Joseph Reyes said he is optimistic that the gaming committee chaired by Rep. Joseph Deleon Guerrero will help move things forward.
It was Deleon Guerrero who introduced House Bill 20-38 which proposes to transfer the licensing and regulatory functions of the Department of Finance with respect to poker, pachinko and electronic gaming machines to the Commonwealth Casino Commission.
According to Reyes, “It’s a good bill, but there is a lot more that needs to be addressed and considered. It’s not going to be easy. We have to be mindful that there’s a law requiring poker arcades to move out of residential villages, so we should consider that. At present, given the regulations in place, the question is how many of them are still in compliance, and we have to look at the monetary aspects also. We need additional staff and transportation for 24-7 operations. We have to be fair. We are promoting responsible gaming, right? So there’s still a lot that needs to be discussed. It’s not that it cannot be done. The intention is good, but the bill may need to be refined. I still give Rep. Joe Deleon Guerrero credit for proposing it.”
In a separate interview, Deleon Guerrero said his bill’s intent is to consolidate the regulatory authority instead of having two agencies doing the same things.
“We now have a functional regulatory agency, the casino commission, that has both the manpower and expertise to be able to regulate the gaming industry. Poker is part of the gaming industry,” he added.
“The casino commission is in a better position to do the job of regulating poker arcades. We are working on some amendments to the bill right now to clarify some issues. We want to see the poker industry tightly regulated. It’s not fair that the casino is the only one tightly and heavily regulated. I am not saying that poker arcades are not already regulated, but we just want to make sure that the standards are fair and equitable when it comes to poker and e-gaming.”