The Philippines is an extremely important region for gambling. The popularity of casino games in the islands has been rapidly growing and now it’s one of the strongest gambling destinations in South-East Asia. Nowadays and the popularity of various gambling activities like Bingo, Jueteng, Masiao, and other forms of gambling spreads so quickly that Manila now looks like a real rival to the nearby gambling tourist attraction, Macau and may even take its spot shortly. Although the land-based casinos are accepted by the government of the Philippines, their position towards online gambling is much stricter.
Filipino online gambling market regulations there are a little bit different from other leading gambling countries. The Philippines is divided into two regions according to gambling purposes. In most parts of the country, gambling is tightly controlled by two regulators, the state-owned Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) which mainly manages land-based casinos and betting outlets in the country. These two gaming regions handle the licensing of the land-based casino gambling, as well as online gambling businesses.
Usually, locals are welcome to gamble on the approved locations by the regulator and they can also take part in some online forms of gambling at offshore websites, which are quite accessible for them. However, you can’t participate in online casinos located on the islands because the gambling laws are very strict and it’s not legal for Filipino casino websites to offer their service to their citizens, while they are completely free to operate anywhere outside the country. However, since online gambling in the Philippines is currently flourishing, it is expected that the laws may expand to online gambling opportunities within the island as well.
Because offering online betting to locals is restricted in both regions of the Philippines, but providers in other countries with no connection to the Philippines have the possibility of offering their services, the laws regarding online gambling are considered as a little bit odd. In short, citizens of the Philippines are not subjects of banning online gambling, as there was a serious discussion on the legality of placing bets over the internet. But the court found out in 2012 that nothing was written in law against placing bets. However, the situation is different for the operators. They have completely different rules from the citizens and every gambling website in the Philippines is restricted to them. As a result, rules about physical and online gambling in the Philippines differ from each other.
Popular Filipino online casinos
The citizens of the Philippines can take part in online gambling without any worries. What makes the gambling atmosphere quite different there from other countries is that the Philippines is the only country in Asia that licenses online casinos. The country runs a state-owned licensing agency and online casinos there are widely considered as a safe place for gambling, which is the reason why locals don’t think too much before entering a website and placing bets. They effectively use their opportunities and usually gamblers from the Philippines register on local casinos instead of international brands from more trustworthy locations like Malta or the UK.
Because there are plenty of online casino sites available in the Philippines, finding the best option is pretty hard, so people usually try to read different reviews to work out whether a local casino is good. Doing this is essential to avoid frauds, play free online casino games win real money no deposit Philippines, and take part in responsible gambling. For this, there are plenty of reviews throughout the internet and new casino sites are established every monthly which tries to offer unique services.YOu can easily do a simple Google search and find a list of online casinos that welcome players from the Phillippines.
However, after changes in the law in 2012, people started using foreign-hosted sites to play without fear of violation of rules. Now popular sites like Mr. Green accept players with IP addresses from the Philippines through their international site. This method is pretty effective, so other operators are working on it and it’s just a matter of time to fully implement this strategy. But betting at mobile sites is completely legal currently as long as they are operated by licensed offshore casino operators.
How gambling works in the Philippines
Various specificities make gambling in the Philippines unique from other countries. The Philippines is a country with multiple different regions. It’s divided into 17 regions which differ from each other with culture, economics, religions, etc. These differences apply to the gambling industry as well. In the capital city Manila, the land-based, as well as online casinos, are pretty common among the population, but some of the other provinces are much less developed and they still consider gambling as something unacceptable.
People in these regions usually try to keep away their families from gambling activities as the Philippines is a country with strong religious traditions. The majority of the population there are catholic and also, there is the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao located on the western side of the island. However, nowadays it’s not necessary to gamble in land-based casinos to satisfy your gaming needs, so people even from these regions usually look for the best casino sites to play on in the Philippines.
As a result of these diverse regions in Phillippines, the gambling regulations in specific states are different. While the general gambling laws are the same throughout the whole country, multiple regulators are working in different regions and not every region applies the same policies or the same types of gambling options.
Generally, domestic gambling is legal across the country. According to federal gambling laws, two distinct regions differ from each other with gambling laws. As we have briefly mentioned, most of the country is governed by the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR). The regulator operates all land-based casinos and betting outlets across the country. The second region is Cagayan Valley or the so-called Cagayan Freeport which is governed by the Cagayan Economic Zone Authority (CEZA). This is the only area that is not under complete control of the PAGCOR monopoly. In this region, the best paying online casinos in the Philippines are allowed to offer their services to tourists only.
Although these two authorities follow the same federal laws, they have exclusive control over assigned regions. They have the power to apply the small change in their regions but they must obey the national Philippine gambling laws. Also, because the Philippines is rural, the main source of entertainment in this country is online casinos, online sportsbooks, and online poker games.
Some of the regions in the country stand out with their significant gambling operations and Cagayan Valley isn’t the only one. But firstly, let’s overview gambling in this region. The Cagayan Valley consists of several rural communities which include coastal cities with nice beaches and beautiful hotels. This place usually attracts tourists’ attention and is considered as one of the top tourist destinations of the country. In this region, the city of Santa Ana is the only one that has land-based casinos and allows its citizens to play casino games for real money in the Philippines since 2010. Residents of this city have the opportunity to enjoy all the forms of line wagering, such as online gambling or sportsbooks, as they are legal if the websites are not located in the Philippines.
The second region with specific gambling rules is Metro Manila. It’s the largest area in the country and most of the land-based casinos are located here. Tourism is an important part of this region. Currently, more than 20 casinos attract tourists from all over the world, which plays a huge part in making a significant source of revenue for the Philippines. In this region, various forms of gambling are considered legal, including casino gambling, domestic poker rooms, lottery, horse race betting, or online poker.
So, after discussing gambling laws in different regions of the Philippines, to avoid your confusion, let’s sum up this information. Although there are two companies, CEZA & PAGCOR, that regulate online gambling in the Philippines, they can’t establish their own gambling laws in these individual regions, because both of them are owned by the government.
The reason why there are two regulators in the country traces back to 1995 when the Office of the President and Congress received Republic Act 7922 and created the Cagayan Economic Zone Authority. For this time PAGCOR had already been operating, but the government gave Ceza the authority to make the Cagayan Valley an independent economic region to attract foreign investors and promote trade and tourism. Currently, regions ruled by the PAGCOR are greater, as it covers 90-95% of the Philippines, but controlling bigger areas and ruling for longer times doesn’t mean that PAGCOR has the authority over CEZA.
So, that’s how the Philippines is set up basically. Online gambling is legal in both PAGCOR and CEZA regulated regions as long as you play via offshore licensed sites and this rule applies to all the Filipino online casinos.
General Filipino gambling regulation
The country-wide regulation is not very different from the regulations in the above-mentioned specific regions. The key regulations refer to gambling, online gambling, and the development of specific zones for gaming aims. Several major gambling acts apply to each area to the same degree. For example, the Presidential Degree N1067 is one of the general rules which defines legal gambling in the Philippines and plans using the revenue from the gambling industry to build infrastructure and promote tourism. This law is important for stating legal forms of gambling entertainment. So, anything that is not listed among the approved venues is illegal.
Another important law is Executive Order N13 which aims to reduce illegal gambling throughout the country. It’s all about giving orders to the Police and the Bureau of Investigation in the Philippines to regulate laws and eliminate illegal actions in the gambling sector. For example, it bans domestic operators to provide online casino slots in the Philippines. The law has been operating since February 2007.
Except for the two discussed regulatory corporations in the Philippines, several other agencies take part in the regulation system of the country. Philippine Racing Commission (PHILRACOM) is among them. The main purpose of this organization is to deal with sport and gambling issues and maintain unbiased operations of racing. They try to minimize the violation of laws regarding sports betting in the Philippines and raise awareness about responsible gambling in the population. Also, they have some specific tasks like preventing the illegal importation of horses and in general, protecting their rights.
Another influential agency that takes an important part to regulate the gambling industry in the Philippines is the Games and Amusements Board (GAB). The organization was established in 1951 and after this time it supervises professional events, like boxing, karate, wrestling, basketball, and Sabong. They aim to prevent the creation of illegal gambling-centered activities in the Philippines online casinos, establish professional sports activities, and develop self-discipline among athletes.
One more important area that needs to be harshly regulated is lottery games and the organization which is in charge of this important task is the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) which was launched in 1995. They established the first-ever lottery in the country and it was a big success.
Responsible gambling in the Philippines
Generally, responsible gambling is essential to have a safe user experience and protect your citizens from the potential negative consequences of online gambling. That’s exactly why the government of the Philippines tries hard to provide safe gambling policies and make the casino experience fun while promoting responsible gaming practices. Because gaming can harm the player, their family, and community, the PAGCOR tries hard to prevent vulnerable people from getting addicted.
Also, the government officials, members of the Armed Forces, Police, and their relatives aren’t allowed to take part in gambling activities, like Filipino casino slots. To avoid increasing obsession with gambling, loss of self-discipline as a result of gaming behavior, and inability to stop playing, Casino Filipino promotes responsible gaming. Their purpose is to prevent potential harm to the individual players and the whole community of the Philippines. One important aspect of responsible gambling is to create and implement a specific program for vulnerable people. Casino Filipino implemented the Player Exclusion Program specifically for this purpose. It provides patrons for those who feel that their relatives or themselves have problems with gambling.
If you are concerned about gambling problems, you can approach the team members of the organization City of Dreams Manila that’s committed to promoting responsible gaming and ensure that gamblers make the right decisions, and as a result, overall gaming behavior is socially responsible. So, stay in control and call their responsible gaming hotline which is available 24/7.
How we rate Filipino online casinos
Although the Philippines is home to an amazing selection of online casinos, there are plenty of websites that fail to impress the customers. Nowadays many unreliable online casinos make it difficult to play safe and avoid the lack of personal information. This is why we always try to look for casinos with bad practices and warn players of what should be avoided. We suggest paying attention to certain things while searching on Google which needs to be taken into account. First of all, it’s not only about appearance. The casino may look cool, colorful and its interface may be something perfect for you, but just because they try to catch your attention with cartoonish images doesn’t mean that they are reliable. So, take a look at some of our tested criteria to choose the best online casino sites in the Philippines and find the best games, promotions, and loyalty programs.
- Security – gambling online involves your personal data which may be used unreasonably and cause monetary losses. For this reason, the first thing you need to focus on while gambling online in the Philippines is the regulator. For example, Malta Gambling Authority (MGA) usually provides highly secured websites and excellent experience as most of their sites are protected with an SSL encryption system.
- Game Providers – for a better experience, you have to make sure that the game library is wide enough on the website and the games are provided by different authoritative software providers which ensure high quality.
- Bonuses and promotions – good casinos should provide a diverse welcome package of 100% where a great number of free spins are included. But popular Filipino casinos provide generous packages not only for newcomers but also for their loyal users.
- Convenient banking system – on best paying online casinos in the Philippines you are usually provided with quick payment procedures, which means that deposit and withdrawals methods are easy to understand and you get your money in and out of the online casino easily.
- Customer support – good-quality websites in the Philippines offer their users online chats with 24/7 customer support, as well as an accessible email address where a professional support team quickly responds to your answers.
After all these discussions, we can conclude that the gambling sector in the Philippines is thriving. No laws are prohibiting online gambling in the Philippines, as long as you play using offshore websites, however, the situation is usually under control as there are two authoritative regulators in the country. Gambling in the Philippines is generally restricted by government laws and some government-run agencies control legal gambling and run casinos. It’s still hard to say which is the best online casino Philippines, as there are a lot of them but if you keep our recommendations in mind, you will highly probably find something suitable for you.