A HIGH-ranking official from the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) said they are actively restricting online betting sites and gaming mobile applications as it has become more prevalent.
“Constantly nag-uupdate na kami with all of our agencies to restrict especially on illegal gambling sites... Ang nag-proliferate nun yung mga e-sabong so we’re trying our best to block them (We are constantly updating all of our agencies to restrict illegal gambling sites... The ones that have proliferated are e-sabong so we're trying our best to block them),” DICT Secretary Ivan John Uy said in an ambush interview on March 29.
Based on Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR)’s data in their website as of March 8, there are only seven operators licensed to operate online betting.
However, Yu said as more sites are sprouting and operating illegally, DICT is coordinating with different agencies on restricting these types of sites.
“Problema kasi diyan kapag nag-block kami, lalabas na naman ng bagong site (The problem there is that when we block one gambling site, they will just create another one), at they become innovative in how to pursue this,” Yu said.
“If there are reports that are coming up, we do our best again to restrict access to that,” Yu added.
During the launching of the DICT - Free Wi-Fi for All in University of Southeastern Philippines (Usep), Yu also said gambling and online betting sites will be blocked for students.
Yu said they must utilize the Free WiFi wisely by using them for their studies and other school matters.
“The Free WiFi program is more controlled because kami ang nag-provide ng (we are providing) Internet connectivity” Yu said.
Online betting’s influence
Meanwhile, a psychologist said online betting is becoming more popular than ever because it gives many rewards to its users, is much more accessible, and there is a variety of choices consumers can use from.
“Accessibility and the reward are strong indicators for the maintenance of their behavior. Tungod naay (Because they have) access and lami sa feeling makadaog ug naa’y kwarta (it feels good to win and earn money),” De Mar Bangeles, a licensed psychologist and psychometrician, said in an interview.
Bangeles said online gambling provides a temporary escape to its consumers, especially the young, who might be stressed by their activities.
“Tungod naay access and lami sa feeling makadaog ug naay kwarta – these are strong predictors for the maintenance of their online gambling engagement,” Bangeles said.
Thus, Bangeles urged schools to craft and enforce school policies on the use of gadgets to address online betting or gambling among students.
For parents, he said they must instill gentle discipline and moderate screen time for children.
“Kita as parents, it is our job to raise our children – dli responsibilidad sa gadget nga padak-on atong mga anak,” Bangeles said. ICE