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Networks of Dis(trust) and Gaming Development in the Philippines: PAGCOR and the Entertainment City

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This article analyzes the unique trajectory of the Philippine gaming industry, with a particular focus on the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) and the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO). It aims to provide empirical insight on how state and non-state actors take part in the growing gaming industry in the Philippines in a neoliberal context. This article first addresses the dominant patron-client paradigms, and finds them insufficient to provide an explanation to both the gaming development in the country and the regulatory mechanisms behind this industry. By providing a description of how PAGCOR and the PCSO circumvent dysfunctional bureaucracy and assuage criticism against systemic corruption, this article suggests that a closer look at the complex networks between stakeholders in both the public and private sectors will provide an alternative way of understanding Philippine politics. The strategic decision by the weak Philippine state to invest heavily in the gaming industry presents a clear example of how these complex networks operate. The gaming regulatory policy pragmatically employs current Philippine laws to ensure maximum profit for the state. This article concludes that a critical examination of the gaming industry is necessary, spanning both the legal and illegal types and the social relations of confidence and suspicion between public and private stakeholders.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 01 December 2017

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