Philippines ban on text message gambling
By Linda
The Philippine Government has decided to crack down on text messaging that could be construed as gambling. The Department of Trade and Industry [DTI] has decided to ban text-based promotions found to have gambling elements, ostensibly to protect consumers from being scammed by the companies offering these services. Text messaging is the transmission of short messages over mobile phones.

The Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (PAGCOR) will be charged with determining whether games and sales promotions with short messaging services (SMS) or text elements have wagering schemes.

The Motion and Television Regulatory Classifications Board (MTRCB) will also ban advertisements of SMS/text-based promotions identified by PAGCOR.

Also, the National Telecommunications Commission, which regulates service carriers like Globe, Smart and PLDT, will stop the transmission of text-based games if found by PAGCOR to be a game of chance.

The DTI's role as the consumer watchdog will review text-based sales promotions and grants permits accordingly.

Trade and Industry Secretary Manuel A. Roxas II said this concerted effort is undertaken to protect consumers.

A memorandum of agreement will also be forged among the four government agencies.

'We decided to take the initiative to touch base with these agencies because we have been receiving a lot of inquiries and complaints from the general public about the unclear mechanics of many games and promotions done via texting,' Roxas said.

Roxas also expressed concern over gambling taking place in the guise of entertainment, along with the extra cost to consumers of taking part.

'This is definitely an abuse,' Roxas said stressing that the actual cost of implementing text contests should not be passed on to the consumer.

'With our enhanced cooperation, the public can be more assured that all aspects of these promotions will be scrutinized before we allow implementation,' Roxas said.

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