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House bill imposing heavy penalties on game fixers OK’d on 2nd reading

The House of Representatives on Wednesday approved on second reading a bill providing at least three years' prison time or a P1-million fine for individuals convicted of game-fixing.

Under House Bill 4513, game-fixing covers throwing a game for money in both professional and amateur sports, including collegiate leagues, as well as:

  • acts of point-shaving, or a player intentionally scoring lower than his or her average;
  • game-machinations; and
  • abetting, aiding, inducing any person to commit game-fixing and profiting therefrom as well as other forms of game-fixing.

The measure also defines game-fixing as an act committed by a syndicate when three or more persons conspire or confederate with one another.

Likewise, House Bill 4513 considers the elements of monetary gain and valuable consideration as prima facie evidence of game-fixing.

“It is the policy of the State to promote the growth and development of sports in the country and protect the youth from the influence of persons who, through fraudulent schemes, machinations and other nefarious practices, undermine the true spirit of sportsmanship and taint the fair and competitive conduct of sports in the country,” the bill read.

“Towards this end, the state hereby declares game-fixing,  point-shaving and game machinations in any sports competition unlawful, and imposes severe penalties on these acts to discourage the commission thereof and to promote the values of excellence, fair play and integrity in Philippine sports,” it added.

A person who will be found guilty of these acts faces a three to six years jail time or a fine of P1 million to P5 million pesos.

Jail time will be increased to six years to 12 years when the offender is an athlete, promoter, referee, umpire, judge, coach in the game, race or sports competition. The fine, should the court decide that it is the appropriate penalty rather than jail time, will however remain at the range of P1 million to P5 million.

A penalty of life imprisonment (40-year jail time) or a fine of P10 million to P50 million, however, will be slapped on members of syndicates involved in game fixing.

The bill, however, only carries an administrative liability for student violators who are minors or under 18 years of age.

The mere proposal, attempt and conspiracy to commit game­ fixing, on the other hand, carries a penalty of imprisonment ranging from one to three years or a fine worth P500,000 to P1 million.

But ultimately, the bill Imposes the penalty of perpetual disqualification from participation, in any capacity, in both amateur and professional sports, upon those who found guilty of game-fixing.

Reports of players and syndicates’ involvement in game fixing, especially in the collegiate ranks, have always been rife but nobody has been deemed guilty by a court of such offense in recent years. — BM, GMA Integrated News