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Beware of social ills coming with casinos

MANILA (Agencies) : The Church has reacted strongly to an overture from Australian billionaire, James Packer, and Lawrence Ho, the son of Macau casino mogul, Stanley Ho, to invest US$1 billion
($7.75 billion) in a new casino in
Manila.

Archbishop José Palma pointed out that casinos are a front for a whole range of illegal activities, including prostitution, money laundering and drug running.

The president of the bishops’ conference said that if the government is prepared to expand the casino industry it has to make provision for the social problems that come with it.

“It is not really easy to generalise but we know from our experience that where a sort of culture of gambling develops, other corresponding things like prostitution, addiction, among others, come with it,” Archbishop Palma said.

“As we know, because of gambling, people who lose money at the tables often resort to other crimes… robberies and others things happen in many places,” he continued.

CBCP News reported on June 29 that the government’s Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation announced that discussions are still ongoing over the proposed casino venture of Packer and Ho.

Archbishop Palma said the Church would oppose it, because of the social ills that result. He added that he believes that casinos have a disproportionate impact on the poor.

“People are spending money believing that it can eradicate poverty or in the belief that gambling, through luck, can free them from poverty,” he said.

“That’s why, in general, we try to discourage all forms of gambling in our country. It is a game of chance. We should rather teach Filipinos to work hard,” the archbishop said.