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Philippines bets on online casinos, e-cockfights as Chinese flee

Regulator opens up virtual betting, sparking concerns over money laundering

The Philippines is gearing up to expand its online gambling industry despite public wariness toward the industry. (Source photos by Akira Kodaka)

MANILA -- The Philippines is gearing up to expand its online gambling industry by opening up betting to local residents and domestic operators, targeting more overseas markets and offering new services including online cockfighting and horse racing.

The move is aimed at reviving slumping gaming revenues, which could help President Rodrigo Duterte's administration bankroll the country's recovery from the coronavirus pandemic. Critics, however, say more safeguards are needed to ensure the industry -- which has been linked to money laundering and other financial crimes -- will be adequately policed as more betting moves online.

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