Mayor Isko, police raid illegal amusement center in Recto mall

Katrina Domingo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 31 2019 02:22 PM | Updated as of Jul 31 2019 08:22 PM

Manila Mayor Isko Moreno leads a raid on an illegal gambling center on Recto Avenue, Manila, July 31, 2019. George Calvelo, ABS-CBN News

MANILA (2nd UPDATE) - An illegal gambling center inside a mall on Recto Avenue here is facing shutdown following a raid Wednesday. 

Minors who were caught betting one peso to win cash prizes were escorted out of the facility before Manila Mayor Isko Moreno served a search warrant.

"Yung piso tumatama ng piso din (One peso won for a one-peso bet.) That is gambling," Moreno told reporters.

Any form of gambling without a franchise from the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) and the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (Pagcor) is illegal, he said.

“Walang pinagkaiba ito sa video karera o fruit game na hinuhuli natin,” he said. “Ang pinagkaiba lang nito ay nasa disenteng lugar at mukhang may permiso ng gobyerno.”

(This is no different from video karera or the fruit game that we are running after. The only difference is this is in a decent place and it appears to be allowed by government.)

The gaming hall misused the permit issued by the city government, said Manila business permits office chief Levi Facundo.

“The permit issued is for amusement purposes only,” he said.

He said the gaming center only had permits for 15 machines but operated a total of 78.

"We will see if there is a liability on the part of the mall because coddling this illegal type of business is also banned," Moreno said.

The mall’s management refused to speak to media about the incident but told Moreno they were unaware of the gambling activities inside the arcade.

Mall owners should “do due diligence” before leasing spaces to amusement parks or arcade businesses, the mayor said.