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- Online Gambling Philippines Legal
- Legal States For Online Gambling
- Is Online Casino Legal In Philippines
Legal Online Gambling in the Philippines The iGaming industry in the Philippines has been experiencing a steady rise, but its regulatory policies are in a rather unique situation. To put it simply, the respective jurisdictions illustrated above have the authority to license and regulate online casino operators.
Casino gambling in the Philippines is governed by two specific jurisdictions within the Islands: the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) and the Cagayan Special Economic Zone.
These two gaming districts handle the licensing and regulation of the various brick and mortar casinos found throughout the nation. Along with land-based casino gambling, PAGCOR also licenses and regulates online gambling businesses.
Despite being licensed by a Filipino district, the online gambling businesses operating out of this region are not permitted to offer their services to Filipino players. They are legally allowed to offer their betting and gambling services to players outside of the Philippines Islands.
Are Online Casinos Legal In The Philippines?
It is not illegal to operate an online casino in the Philippines, however, it is illegal to offer casino gambling services to Filipino players when operating an online casino that is based within the nation’s borders. However, Filipino players still have access to legally sanctioned online casino gambling through licensed and regulated offshore casino destinations online.
If there were any doubt as to this fact, a court case from 2012 resulted in a ruling that verified that the Philippines gambling laws do not prohibit players from participating in placing bets online. This means that Filipino players can legally enjoy online casino gambling at destinations that are licensed, regulated and located outside of the Philippines.
In addition, it is perfectly legal for players to access and bet at mobile sites as long as they are operated by licensed and regulated offshore casino operators. You can learn more about the legalities in different areas in our guide to Philippines legal casino gambling by region.
Gambling Laws Explained
Presidential Decree No.1067-a (1975)
PD No. 1067-A created the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) and defines legal gambling in the Philippines. The Decree also defines PAGCOR’s powers and functions and how funding will be provided to the government corporation and how revenue will be collected and used by PAGCOR. Signed into in law in 1975 by then president Ferdinand Marcos.
Presidential Decree No. 1602 (1978)
PD 1602 creates harsher penalties for illegal gambling activities. Section 1 lists activities that are usually associated with legal gambling in the Philippines: Basketball, Boxing, Slots, Poker, Soccer, Football, Volleyball, Horse racing, Pinball and about every other sport you can think of. It states that the punishment for wagering on those games without proper licensing shall be punished by prison and a fine up to 6 thousand pesos (PHP). Section 2 gives an informants reward of 20%.
Presidential Decree No. 1869 (1983)
PD 1869 is the charter of the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) of how to properly regulate the gambling industry. It gives guidelines for PAGCOR to follow to authorize, license, and regulate all games of chance within the Philippines while laying out the legal framework for corporations to obtaining licenses.
Republic Act 7922 (1994)
The Republic Act 7922 established a special economic zone in the Cagayan Valley to be known as the Cagayan Economic Zone while including neighboring islands and the city of Freeport. Section 4 of the act lays out governmental principals while section 5 creates the Cagayan Economic Zone Authority (CEZA). The rest of the act contains legal information about CEZA compensation, supervision, auditing and legal counsels.
Republic Act 9287 (2004)
The Republic Act 9287 was written into law on April 2nd, 2004 and was enacted by the Senate and the House of Representatives of the Philippine Congress. The Act increases the penalty for illegal numbers games and its implementing rules.
Executive Order No. 13 (2017)
The second section (2) of Executive Order No. 13 order clearly defines illegal gambling as any activity not authorized by an operator’s licensing authority.Transcribed to combat illegal number game operators in an effort to endorse state-run lottery services. Section 3 reinforces the policy of not allowing Filipino players access to Philippine licensed online casinos and sportsbooks. Outside players are targeted by Filipino online casinos while Philippine players are still allowed to play offshore legally sanctioned online casinos and sportsbooks.
Republic Act 10927 (2017)
Implemented by the Philippine Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC) on November 4th, 2017 the Republic Act 10927 entails special requirements for all Philippine-based casinos to follow. The law requires for casino owners to implement risk management policies and to keep records for their players for at least 5 years.
Casino owners are now ordered to allow compliance checks when the AMLC suspects a case of money laundering or terrorist financing. This new act also affects players. Players are now required to give more detailed information about themselves before setting up an account and no more aliases will be accepted.
The AMLC will also now be notified whenever there is a bet or a transaction of $100,000 USD or more. Failure to abide by this new act will result in stiff fines and/or penalties and could lead to a revoke of operating licenses.
House Bill 8910
HB-8910 is a proposed bill that would eliminate e-sabong nationwide if accepted into law. It specifically targets online cockfight betting and seeks to strengthen the Games and Amusement Board's oversight of all professional sports.
Where Can I Find Legally Licensed Online Casinos Accepting Filipino Players?
You could easily do a simple Google search to find a list of online casinos that welcome players from the Philippines. Please allow us to caution you from this course of action. Just because an online casino accepts Filipino players does not make it a legally sanctioned online casino or a high-quality destination that operates according to industry standards and licensing requirements.
One of the objectives for creating this resource guide was to assist players in finding the leading Filipino online casinos operating legally within the industry as well as helping players avoid questionable, predatory or low-quality destinations.
This guide provides a listing of recommended Philippines friendly online casinos. The list was comprised following an intense review process that closely examined online casinos that accept players from the Philippines. We carefully evaluated their legal standing within the industry, the existence and validity of their compliance certifications, the quality of their software solutions, services and security profile, and their reputation within the industry.
We literally review hundreds of components of each brand, effectively eliminating undesirable locations while revealing the top brands worth visiting. You can find a list of legal online casinos that accept players in the Philippines here.
Why Can’t I Participate At Online Casinos Located In the Philippines?
Online Gambling Philippines Legal
The gambling laws in the Philippines are quite strict when it comes to operating an online casino within the nation’s borders. While these businesses are free to offer casino gambling to players anywhere outside of the Philippines, the law clearly specifies that it is illegal for locally licensed internet gambling sites to offer their services to Filipino citizens.
Thankfully, the law does not simultaneously make it a crime for Filipino players to place bets online, hence players are free to engage in legal online casino gambling from offshore gambling sites. With the gambling industry in the Philippines currently flourishing, it is not outside the realm of possibilities that the laws may evolve to expand the online gambling opportunities within the island region, however, there have not been any moves in this direction thus far.
What Is The Minimum Gambling Age In The Philippines?
The gambling laws in the Philippines have established that gamblers must be at least 21 years of age in order to participate in casino gambling. This law is taken seriously by the Filipino government in an effort to eliminate the risks of underage gambling.
Violators will face legal consequences. While the laws in the Philippines generously allow offshore online gambling, the legal minimum gambling age still applies to this type of gambling entertainment. That means that if an online casino or poker site allows players to register at age eighteen, Filipino players must still wait until they are twenty-one years old to place bets at these sites. These restrictions established within the nation’s laws trump the policies of gambling websites.
Are There Any Other Forms Of Legal Online Gambling Available For Philippines Residents?
Yes, there is. Legally sanctioned offshore gambling sites that are available to Filipino players include legal Philippines online poker sites and legal Philippines online sports betting sites. The same rules apply to offshore poker sites and sportsbooks, so as long as the gambling sites are not operated within the Philippines, then there is nothing illegal about enjoying real money gambling at these destinations.
I was recently talking to a friend in the UK who was considering retiring to the Philippines. I mentioned that I had lived there for a while and intended to retire in the Philippines in the future. However, he confided in me that he had one nagging doubt – he loved to gamble online almost every day, but he had heard that it was illegal in the Philippines.
I knew from experience that this couldn’t possibly be true, and my time running Gamblerspro.com told me there were many Filipinos searching for online gambling sites. What I found is that my expat friend was indeed incorrect. Gambling is legal in all forms in the Philippines, but that the reason for his confusion was several pointed statements made fairly recently by President Duterte.
So, what’s the deal with gambling in the Philippines? Is it legal? Is it safe? I’ll share what I found out here.
A Quick History of Gambling in the Philippines
When I first moved to the Philippines, one of the first things I noticed was the prevalence of gambling in the culture. Since I come from a part of the world where gambling is taboo, I was mildly shocked by how many casinos I encountered, how many people I saw wagering small sums of cash and cigarettes on card games and Mahjong, and by just how much cash changed hands at local cockfights.
It turns out that gambling has a long history in the Philippines. Antonio Pigafetta, who visited the Philippines with Ferdinand Magellan in the 16th century, made reference to how fond Filipinos are of gambling in his diaries. So, gambling goes back a long way on the archipelago.
Although the Spanish tried to stamp it out, even calling it a “consuming cancer” they clearly did not succeed, and gambling is alive and well in the Philippines today.
Yet, in recent times, President Duterte has taken a hardline stance on illegal online gambling operators. This was the source of my friend’s confusion. He mistakenly believed that Duterte had declared online gambling illegal, but as you’ll soon see, that’s not the case.
Is Gambling Legal in the Philippines?
All forms of gambling are legal and regulated in the Philippines. This includes casino games, sports betting, poker, and lotteries.
However, in order to operate a legal gambling enterprise, a license must be obtained from the appropriate government department.
So, which department is in charge? That depends on what sort of operation it is.
- Casino Games – These are regulated and licensed by PAGCOR, which is the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation. This organization also regulates poker and bingo.
- Sports Betting – ICLG claims that PAGCOR regulates sports betting in the Philippines, while Wikipedia claims it falls under the purview of the Games and Amusement Board. This requires clarification, but either way, it’s clear that betting on sports is legal and regulated.
- Lotteries – Lotteries are regulated by PCSO – Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office.
Legal States For Online Gambling
The above forms of gambling are all legal and regulated. Profits derived from them are spent on national development and welfare programs.
Several games of chance exist in the underground gambling market in the Philippines, including Jueteng, Masiao, and Last Two. These are numbers games which are played on the street all across the country. You won’t find them in legit casinos, though.
Online Gambling In the Philippines
So, it’s clear that most forms of gambling in the Philippines are legal with the exception of a few games. Why then had my friend thought otherwise?
It turns out that President Duterte has made a few flamboyant statements about gambling in the Philippines. He has stated that he would “suppress” the online gambling industry and, a statement translated from Tagalog to English he stated that:
“To hell with the contract [held by locally licensed operators], I told you I do not want gambling, period.”
While an outright ban has not happened, a major crackdown on illegal online gambling operators has, and several arrests and deportations have occurred.
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Perhaps Duterte has realized that it’s better to effectively tax the many Philippines Overseas Gambling Operators (POGOs) rather than chase them out of the country? Since they contributed P3.13 billion to the national coffers in 2017, that’s probably a wise move.
Philippines Gambling – Summary
In conclusion, all forms of gambling are alive and well in the Philippines. Gambling generates vast sums of money in the economy, and one only has to visit any large or medium-sized city in the country to find a Casino Filipino or one of its rivals.
Online gambling is also legal. Despite Duterte’s threats to squash it, it’s thriving, and expats and locals alike can play casino games, bet on sports, and enjoy poker tournaments without fear of punishment.
Just don’t try to stream a live roulette game from your webcam without a POGO license. And to my friend, when you read this, go ahead and retire in the Philippines – you’ll love it, and nobody will jail you for playing cards or betting on the horses!