In the Philippines, the Philippines Amusement And Gaming Corporation regulator has reportedly disclosed that controversial Chinese businessman Jack Lam owes the state around $278.3 million in unpaid licensing fees.
According to a report from Asia Gaming Brief, 55-year-old Lam, whose given name is Lam Yin Lok, saw 1,316 of his workers arrested in November in connection with an illegal online gambling operation purportedly being run out of the Fontana Leisure Parks And Casino in the Clark Freeport Zone near Angeles City. He is then alleged to have attempted to bribe Vitaliano Aguirre, Secretary for the Justice Department, over the matter before fleeing the country in advance of the issuance of an arrest warrant.
The revelation from the Philippines Amusement And Gaming Corporation reportedly came from its Assistant Vice-President, Arnell Ignacio, during a Senate inquiry into an alleged $1 million bribery scandal involving the Chinese tycoon and top officials in the country’s Immigration Bureau.
Ignacio also confirmed to Senator Sherwin Gatchalian that he did not know the exact amount of Lam’s debt but confirmed that the Guangzhou-born businessman’s online gaming operation in the Clark Freeport Zone had not been licensed as it had been disguised as a call center.
The Philippines Amusement And Gaming Corporation has reportedly issued a demand letter to Lam regarding the unpaid fees while Gatchalian used the inquiry to express his hope that the regulator’s new leadership will be better able to handle future incidents of illegal online gaming.
“I hope under the new leadership of the Philippines Amusement And Gaming Corporation [that] these debts will not increase,” said Gatchalian. “The Filipino people have been short-changed for a very long time.”