Anti-gambling prelate calls P3.5k casino entrance fee ‘ridiculous’

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MANILA, September 12, 2014—Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Emeritus Oscar V. Cruz, who is known for his crusade against gambling, denounced a bill filed recently by Misamis Oriental Representative Peter Unabia, which allegedly seeks to raise casino entrance fees to P3,500, dismissing it as “ridiculously small”.

Retired Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Oscar Cruz (right), PNP Director General Nicanor Bartolome (center) and former DILG Undersecretary Rico Puno take their oaths before the Senate Committee on Revision of Codes and Laws during the investigation on the illegal numbers game “jueteng” and alleged anomalous firearms deal, held at the Senate in Pasay City on 14 September 2012. (Photo: Melo M. Acuña/CBCPNews)

“It is better than nothing. But I think somebody else should file a bill with ten times or 25 times that amount … that amount is ridiculous compared to the money that goes in and out of the casinos. Besides, casino goers won’t mind spending P3,500,” said Cruz in an interview over Church-run Radyo Veritas.

According to him, patrons of casinos have hundreds of thousands, sometimes millions, in their pockets, which they are prepared to lose, so a P3,500 entrance fee will not do much to deter them from the said vice.

The archbishop believes the proposed law is just Malacañang’s way of showing the Filipino public it is serious about eradicating the “culture of gambling” in the country.

He noted, “That entrance fee is merely for show that will have no effect on casino regulars, most of them millionaires, particularly those who come from abroad and so think in terms of foreign currency.”

Cruz shared that the harm inflicted by gambling outweighs its supposed economic benefits.

“Gambling addicts live day-in day-out only for the thrill gambling gives them. Untold number of families, relationships, and livelihoods has been ruined because of it. It’s a vicious circle that makes a gambler win a game once, and lose much more often later,” explained he.

The prelate fears that gambling conditions the mind of people who engage in it to believe that dishonesty is normal.

Cruz asked, “Why make gambling a source of revenue and livelihood in the first place””

He said casinos in Las Vegas fold up one by one, realizing people there are becoming wiser with their money, and so what used to be gambling houses have been converted to theaters.

“The problem is these gambling lords move to our shores to set up shop here, and our government welcomes them,” laments Cruz. (Raymond A. Sebastián)

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