Gambling Laws

Looking to learn more about gambling laws in the Philippines? This guide walks you through everything you need to know about gambling in the Asian country

The Philippines has one of the most popular gambling markets. Gambling in the country is legal but strongly regulated. The laws and regulations governing gambling in the Philippines are divided into two regions. There’s the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR), which is the largest, and the Cagayan Special Economic Zone and Freeport, or simply Cagayan Freeport.

In this post, we’ll be discussing gambling laws in the Philippines and the gambling situation in the country. We’ll also cover some of the most common questions.

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Local gambling laws

As mentioned above, gambling in the Philippines is controlled and regulated by PAGCOR and Cagayan Freeport. Let’s take a closer look at the two regions. 

PAGCOR

Gambling in the Philippines is mostly overseen by the PAGCOR, which was established in 1976. The body is fully owned by the government and was given the mandate to control gambling affairs in the country until 2032. Locals can play at any approved PAGCOR casino and online casinos. However, they are limited in the types of games they can play. 

The Philippines have relatively odd gambling laws. It’s illegal for local casinos to provide online gambling services to Filipino citizens. However, locals are free to play at offshore online casinos. This is because of how the law has been written. The law doesn’t prohibit citizens from gambling online but has made it illegal for local casinos to offer online gambling services. This means locals can play online as long as the casino operator is not associated with the Philippines.

Cagayan Freeport

The second area, Cagayan Freeport, is not part of the PAGCOR gambling monopoly. This region has independent casinos, which only offer gambling services to tourists/non-citizens. It’s the only body that allows online gambling in the Philippines and Asia. So, apart from catering to tourists in the Philippines, they can also offer to accept online bets in other Asian countries. 

The only thing that applies to both locals and tourists is regulation. All systems have to be tested and approved. All casinos must have enough funds to cover their player’s balances. Strict measures have been put in place to reinforce these rules and regulations. All players will be protected and their winnings will be guaranteed as long as they play at casinos that operate legally in the Philippines.

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What’s the gambling situation in the Philippines?

The domination of PAGCOR in the Filipino gambling market may seem odd, but it’s working in favor of the government. Since 2010, the body has collected significant amounts of money from the gambling market, contributing massively to the government’s yearly revenues. However, with no rule prohibiting Filipinos from gambling online and a population that is increasingly becoming tech-savvy, more and more people have started accessing the services of offshore online casinos.

This is likely to give PAGCOR less control of the gambling market, although the body and the government are unlikely to submit to a free, foreign market without putting up a fight. However, the local gambling market could still prosper in the near future with the potential of more large hotels and casinos being set up. This could boost gambling profits significantly over the next few years. 

To take advantage of the many tourists coming into the country, PAGCOR may consider opening up the domestic market, reducing the restrictions, and making more games and sports available on online gambling platforms. However, until these reforms are sanctioned, Filipinos will continue using offshore online casinos. Players from the Philippines can access a wide range of top online casinos in the world. 

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Online gambling in the Philippines

The law in the Philippines requires players to be at least 21 years old to gamble at a local or offshore casino. This law aims to prevent underage gambling, which has had severe ramifications for the young population in the past. Breaking this law has serious consequences, so you should not disregard it. 

One thing to keep in mind is that even though offshore online casinos allow players who are 18 years to sign up, the Philippines government doesn’t permit that. Players from the Philippines need to wait until they are 21 before they can sign up in any local or online casino. You can find a list of online casinos that accept players from the Philippines by simply searching online. 

However, it would be best if you still chose a reputable Philippines online casino. Just because an online casino accepts players from the Philippines doesn’t mean it is a good casino. You need to evaluate an online casino before committing to it. Check if it’s licensed and regulated by a well-known regulatory body and whether it offers games from recognized software providers. This will ensure you play fair games and get your winnings at the end of the day.

Conclusion 

If you’re a Filipino, it’s important to understand the gambling laws in your country before engaging in any form of gambling. Typically, there are two regions in the country (PAGCOR and Cagayan Freeport). PAGCOR controls most of the gambling activities in the country, including the issuing of licenses and regulating the market. It doesn’t allow local casinos to offer online gambling services nor prohibits Filipinos from wagering online. This means locals can play in offshore online real money casinos. Cagayan Freeport only caters to tourists and permits online gambling. This means casinos in this region can offer online gambling services to other countries in Asia.

Frequently Asked Questions

Yes, it’s legal. Domestic casinos are not allowed to offer online gambling services, although locals can play at foreign online casinos.

Gambling in Philippines is controlled and regulated by PAGCOR and Cagayan Freeport. They are independent of each other but have similar missions.

Yes, most offshore casinos have mobile-friendly websites or dedicated apps you can use to wager.

Absolutely! Since Filipinos are allowed to play in offshore online casinos, they can access bonuses offered by those casinos.

Responsible gambling is well-addressed in the Philippines. There are a few organizations that offer professional help.

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