In South East Asia, the Philippines are a popular destination for many tourists. The magnificent beaches, natural beauty and vibrant culture draw visitors from all around the world. Whether you are planning on laying on the beach drinking cocktails, perusing the shopping malls or exploring the natural wildlife, a trip the Philippines is always going to be a magical experience. If you are a casino enthusiast, you are not alone in wondering about the legality of Gambling in the Philippines. Many tourists want to know if gambling is legal in the country and if they have any decent land based casinos?
A Major Gambling Haven
Unlike many of the other South East Asian countries, the Philippines have a very active gambling industry where all forms of gambling in the Philippines is legal and strictly controlled by the government. The small country is filled with grand casinos, eGames parlours, MSW sports betting outlets, Instawin terminals and Poker Sports Clubs. As a result, foreign investment is flooding into the country’s growing casino and hotel industry. The legalisation of gambling has meant that country can use online and land based casino tourism as a major source of revenue for the tiny nation.
The Role of PAGCOR
Gambling in the Philippines is strictly licensed and controlled by the 100% state owned body known as the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR). Established in 1976, the regulatory body was given a new lease on life when it was granted control over the industry until at least 2032. As the main regulatory body, PAGCOR is solely responsible for licencing the nation’s gambling operations. The body also operates 13 online casinos across the country with half the profits going to the national treasury. There is one area that is not under the control of PAGCOR and that is the Cagayan Special Economic Zone and Freeport.
Cagayan Freeport Gambling
The Cagayan Special Economic Zone and Freeport area is situated at the north-eastern tip of the country. Gambling in the Philippines in this zone is subject to its own gambling laws. It gives out licences for gambling halls that fall within its limits. While gambling is considered legal in the area, the biggest difference between the mainland and Cagayan Freeport is that all gambling establishments are reserved for hotel guests. This means that the local Filipino population are excluded from attending and partaking in land based gambling activities.
Online Gambling in the Philippines
Online gambling in the Philippines is fully legal with licencing inside the country. This makes the Philippines the only country in Asia to licence online casinos. The laws states that in both regions, it is illegal for any independent operator to offer online gambling and betting to locals. However any offshore provider with no connection to the Philippines may offer their services. In the mainland, online gambling is run and regulated by PAGCOR. Online gambling is strictly unavailable for home play. This means that locals must visit one of the e-gaming stations in order to gamble online. There are over 200 gaming stations (PEGS) around the country, where locals can access foreign based online gambling sites. The stations offer legal online gambling as well as sports betting.