Photo on the left shared by the National Bureau of Investigation-Northeastern Mindanao Regional Office (NBI NEMRO) shows poker players being temporarily detained inside the Nine High Sports Bar on Tomas Saco Street. Photo on the left shows the confiscated poker chips.

Around 19 persons were arrested for illegal gambling after operatives of the National Bureau of Investigation-Northeastern Mindanao Regional Office (NBI NEMRO) raided a high-end bar on Tomas Saco Street near 6th Street in Cagayan De Oro City around 11 p.m. on Wednesday, November 2.

According to NBI NEMRO, the popular bar, Nine High Sports Bar, is operating poker without a license from the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) by masquerading as a regular sports bar.

Of the figure, 4 are cashiers and dealers, while 15 were poker players.

“Open talaga sila na parang legal sila, pero illegal sila dahil wala silang lisensiya galing sa PAGCOR. Kumuha lang sila ng permit ng para sa sports bar, pero sa loob ay poker club siya,” NBI NEMRO acting assistant regional director Norman Decampong said.

Decampong added that it took them a month to keep an eye on the goings-on in the poker room and confirm their business dealings with PAGCOR.

They were able to seize P500, P1,000, P10,000, and P50,000 in poker chips, as well as approximately P100,000 in cash and an additional P55,000 from one of the gamblers.

“After matanggap namin mula sa informant namin ang impormasyon, nag-verify agad ang NBI. Nagrequest na din kami sa PAGCOR ng certification kung ano ba ang estado nitong bar, and nalaman nga naming na wala siyang permit, pinasok na agad namin,” he said.

“Halos lahat sila nakunan namin ng nasa more or less 100,000 pesos cash, ang isa dito nakunan naming ng 55,000 pesos. Mga bigtime itong mga player, kasi, itong mga tao na ito, bago pupunta sa pasugalan na ‘yan, nag uusap usap ‘yan na magkikita sila dito para maglaro. May saktong number yan kung ilan kayo na dapat mabuo nila yun, bago sila maglalalaro, dahil Malaki ang labanan diyan,” Decampong noted.

“Mga negosyante, mga tourists, napadpad dito sa Cagayan de Oro tapos magsususgal. Kasi makikita mo sila sa internet, kaya kilala sila,” he added.

Those arrested will face charges for violating PD 1602, also known as the Illegal Gambling Law.

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covers the police beat and other law enforcement agencies in the province. Her interest includes traveling and photography.