The Philippines has become a significant country in the Asian poker scene in recent years, which has been seen through it being a host of various professional poker events.
One Filipino city that has played host to such events is Cebu. As well as being a major city in the centre of the country, the city attracts a large number of tourists and poker players who are drawn by its picturesque beaches and laid back lifestyle. That has to it being the host of a leg of the Asia Pacific Poker Tour (APPT) as well as the Asian Poker Tour (APT).
Despite this, Cebu’s city Mayor Michael Rama has vetoed a resolution which would have paved the way for the operation of a poker room in the city’s Crown Regency Hotel. It is understood that the Cebu Grand Management Group, Inc. (Poker Club) had applied for a permit to operate a poker room from Cebu’s previous council, which was endorsed by that council.
That endorsement was then passed onto the Mayor, who then chose to veto it, giving the reason for doing so as being that he was trying to be consistent in his stand against all forms of ‘gambling’. The veto may lead to a revoke of the permit, which would mean the plans for a proposed poker room at the hotel would not be able to go ahead.
The group would still be able to retain its permit, however, should at least three quarters of the 17 member council vote to override Mayor Rama’s veto. The first step to such a vote is the referring of the veto to the Council’s laws committee, which was recently carried out by a Cebu Councillor.
Mayor Rama’s decision to veto the poker room permit may have taken some by surprise considering the growth of poker events in Cebu. Regardless of whatever happens with regards to the issue in the Council, it is unlikely to affect other poker events or establishments currently in place in the city.
Mr Rama has been the Mayor of the city since June 2010, a time when major poker events such as the APPT Cebu were already in place. The APT Series Cebu event began in 2011, when Mayor Rama has already started serving his term. Such events have occurred, and appear set to continue with little, if any, intervention by the Council or any other legislature in the country.
However, it is always unsettling when poker experiences a setback due to their personal views of a political figure, especially when they appear to go against the views of the majority.