Story Online Gambling in the Philippines – The Southeast Asian archipelago known as the Philippines is now one of the most popular gambling destinations in the region. With foreign investment currently pouring into the capital’s lucrative hotel and casino industry, Manila is starting to look like a formidable competitor to nearby gambling tourism trap Macau. Despite the growing acceptance of land-based casinos, the Philippine government has taken a tougher stance on online gambling.
Gambling in the Philippines is largely carried out under the auspicious watch of the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR), which was established in 1976 at the behest of President Ferdinand Marcos. The 100% state-owned entity was revived in 2007 and has ensured its control of the industry until at least 2032. PAGCOR is in charge of the country’s gaming operations and actually operates 13 casinos across the country, with 50% of its revenue going directly to the state treasury. The only areas out of PAGCOR’s control are the tourist-friendly Cagayan Special Economic Zone and Freeport.
While the Philippines and the Cagayan region have only nuanced differences in brick-and-mortar gambling laws, their approaches to online gambling are far apart. In Cagayan, online gambling sites are only open to foreign gamblers, while most of the country prohibits Filipinos from placing bets online from home – to gamble “online” they have to be spread across more than 200 electronic gaming stations (PEGS). ) is spread across the country and acts as a hub for online gambling and legal sports betting. The vast majority of PEGS-based games are operated and developed by PhilWeb, one of the largest companies in the United States.
However, in 2012 the Philippine Court of Appeals issued a landmark ruling that found that the presidential act governing online gambling did not explicitly prohibit the use of overseas online casinos, raising the possibility of wider competition. was created outside of PAGCOR’s control.
Historically, sabong (cockfighting) has been a popular pastime in the Philippines, with both legal and illegal games taking place on a regular basis – fans can use some of the professional sites licensed by the Cagayan Special Economic Zone for legal events. Many other mainstream international sports are also gaining popularity and PAGCOR is starting to show a greater willingness to expand sports betting options through its various PEGS. Asian League basketball, boxing and the unusual sepak takraw (a form of playing volleyball) are all popular sports in the Philippines and are becoming steadily available thanks to PhilWeb’s push and partnership with PAGCOR.
The future of gambling in the Philippines
PAGCOR’s current dominance of the domestic market may seem like an unusual move, but it’s clearly good for the government. The entity has generated record revenue over the past three years, totalling £1.5 billion (PHP 107 billion) since 2010, adding significantly to the government’s coffers. However, the January 2012 ruling could have an impact on the market, as the country’s population is now technically free to use the services of foreign online casinos like Mr Green Casino. This has the potential to loosen PAGCOR’s grip, although neither she nor the government is likely to surrender without a fight.
Leading analysts such as Merrill Lynch and Bank of America are also predicting a boom in the country’s brick-and-mortar gaming industry over the next few years, suggesting that the few large hotels and casinos opening in the coming months have the potential to account for 18 of the country’s gambling bonuses. Doubled in the month to around £3.5bn. To capitalize on more tourists, PAGCOR is likely to continue its model of slowly opening up its domestic market, offering more sports opportunities and possibly easing restrictions on online access.
Until Filipinos start seeing these reforms, however, they can take comfort in the 2012 ruling and start using websites hosted abroad without fear of being sued. Leading sites like Mr. Green are currently accepting players from Philippine IP addresses through their international sites, and it’s only a matter of time before other operators follow suit.