Casino & Gambling

Legality of Playing at Online Casinos in the Philippines

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The Philippines boasts an exciting and interesting gambling market. It’s one of the few countries in Asia where regulated gambling is allowed. Also, the country is a favorite destination for international players looking to travel, take a vacation and play casino games. Although there’s a vibrant market and a supportive set of laws, it does not mean that Filipinos can just walk into a casino and play the games. Moreover, locals cannot just register and play at a nationally-licensed online casino in the Philippines. The legality of playing casino games in the Philippines is a tricky subject and you must be aware of the basics.

PAGCOR and regulated gambling in the Philippines

There are different forms of gambling in the country. Some of the most popular are card games like blackjack, baccarat, and poker, and betting on sports.  Cockfighting or e-sabong is another popular form of gambling in the country right now and a reliable source of income for the national government. For all forms of regulated gambling, the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation or PAGCOR takes the lead. It is a state-run agency that operates several casinos and betting shops and serves as the country’s chief regulator.

The agency is mandated as the sole government agency that has the authority to conduct and establish casinos and gaming pools.  It operates several casinos with Casino Filipino in Manila as its most important casino. Casino Filipino currently counts more than 13 casinos and satellite arcades scattered in different parts of the country.  Aside from running casinos, the agency also grants operating licenses for an online casino. Philippines license these websites through PAGCOR but they only serve the offshore market. These online casinos are off-limits to Filipino players. Instead, locals can only play in physical casinos regulated by PAGCOR provided they are 21 years of age.

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Cagayan Freeport and legality of online gambling for Filipinos

Aside from PAGCOR, another agency also regulates and assigns a remote master license for an online casino. Philippines boasts the First Cagayan Resort and Leisure Corporation (FCRLC) and it operates within a special economic zone in Cagayan. Here, several independent casinos accept bets from foreign players only. Also, it approves a remote license for an online casino. Philippines-based players are again not allowed to register and play on these websites. There are laws in place that prosecute locals who play these games in locally licensed online casinos.

Offshore licensed casinos as the best destination

The Philippine laws may appear to be stacked against locals, but this does not mean that online casinos are off-limits to players based in the Philippines.  If you prefer the comfort and convenience of online casinos, then you should register on offshore licensed websites. These are your online casinos that are approved and licensed in other countries. For example, these casinos may be licensed by the Malta Gaming Authority, the Government of Costa Rica, and the UK Gambling Commission.

There are a few things that players must remember when working with offshore licensed casinos. One, it’s important to check if the casino accepts bets from Philippine players. Not all offshore licensed casinos will accept Filipino players due to regulatory compliance. Two, you need to check the operator’s policy on security and safety. Although it is licensed, this will not give you a clear picture of the casino’s commitment to player safety. As such, you need to check if the website is fully encrypted if the games are randomly audited, and the Privacy Policy is transparent and friendly to the players. And third, select an offshore licensed casino that accepts familiar payment methods and your preferred currencies. A friendly Cashier section is important if you truly want to enjoy online gambling.

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What’s the future of online casinos in the Philippines?

To play at online casinos, Filipino players can register at offshore licensed casinos. There are no specific laws that prohibit or penalize locals from playing on an online casino. Philippines laws indicate that websites that are licensed and regulated in the country remain off-limits. However, the government has plans to expand the industry by allowing betting online particularly on horse racing and online cockfighting. For example, Bloomberry Resorts have been given the authority to run online betting. DFNN, a Philippine-listed company, was also awarded a license to allow some form of gambling to take place at the player’s home. These developments can help relax the rules on locals playing at locally-licensed online casinos in the future.

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