Life’s a gamble
APOST-Valentine’s Day thought: Love’s a gamble, just like the rest of life. A crackdown on illegal gambling? Good luck, we’ve heard it before. The fact that legal, government-authorized gambling (gaming, to be politically correct) is big business means that law enforcement can only go so far to curb an “instinct” that libertines, even liberals, would classify as natural, universal. With Pagcor’s success in hosting the glitziest casinos in E-City, the urge to build a fortune of so many tables or under the table, in sunshine or in shadow, legally or illegally, can only become stronger and more irresistible.
Glance at Solaire, City of Dreams, and Okada Manila at E-City, plus Resorts World near the airport, and you’re looking at P8.4 billion in monthly revenues as of Jan. 3, 2017. Each time we enter any of these huge palaces of recreation we are tempted to ask if the Philippine economy can support four or more such casinos in one complex, and each time we are assured that the money rolls in as the dice roll, the foreign players love it here. As that memorable line from that forgettable movie, Field of Dreams, tells us, “If you build it, they will come.”
Dreams are dreamt by people with little or no money, but big-shot capitalists aren’t gambling when they invite other people to play. Jack Lam, for example, earned a gross income of P39 billion. (Ironic how casino owners stay away from their own game. Just like makeup artists who don’t wear makeup and fashion models who don’t follow fashion trends in real life.)
According to one source, there are slightly smaller Jack Lams among us who make P2 billion a month, yet they’ve managed to stay under the BIR radar – and it’s not jueteng or cara y cruz or cockfighting that they’re talking about. Illegal gambling? Wasn’t it hilarious how a TV news channel kept running images of the E-City casinos as the voice of its unseen reporter recited the day’s facts about illegal gambling! Surprisingly, none of the casino managements complained.