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Online Gambling Laws in the Philippines
You’ll find that laws to do with online gambling can be quite complicated and, in some cases, quite confusing. In the Philippines, the laws are generally quite straightforward.
Basically, online gambling is legal and you won’t face prosecution, fines or punishment for gambling online while in the Philippines.
The way the laws stand:
- International casinos, i.e. those based outside of the Philippines, are allowed to offer online gambling services to people living in the Philippines.
- Online casinos based in the country, however, can offer their services to those outside of the country, as well as tourists just passing through, but not those who are permanently living in the country itself
If you’re a Philippines resident, don’t bother looking for online casinos based in the country, because you won’t be permitted to make real-money bets. You should instead be on the lookout for casinos based in other countries. The good news is that there are many more international online casinos than there are online casinos based in the Philippines. So even though there’s this minor technicality in the law and some online casinos aren’t available, there’s still more than enough choice available to people living in the Philippines.
Brands offering gambling services to those in the Philippines have to be licensed by PAGCOR.
PAGCOR, which stands for ‘Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation’, is the country’s main gambling regulatory authority. This government-owned corporation oversees gambling in the country and hands out licences to operators. It operates a number of its own land-based casinos and slots clubs throughout the country.
International online casinos that accept players can be licensed by other organisations as well as PAGCOR. These include:
- The Malta Gaming Authority
- The UK Gambling Commission
- The Alderney Gambling Control Commission
Before signing up to any casino, no matter where it’s based, you should always double-check to make sure it’s got a gambling licence. You’ll usually find the licence mentioned or displayed towards the bottom of the webpages. If you can’t find the licence anywhere, you shouldn’t sign up as the casino may not be safe.
Always stick with licensed casinos as they can be trusted.
As it currently stands, to practice online gambling in the country you have to be 18 or older. For offline gambling, the minimum age is 21.
Online Casinos Available to Philippines Players
There are plenty of online casinos that accept players from the Philippines. If you’re living in the Philippines, you’ll find there are countless casinos where you can gamble online to choose from. Deciding which of the many available casinos to sign up to and play at can be quite hard.
After all, when there’s so much choice, how do you know you’ve chosen the right one for you?
Thankfully, there are ways to make the decision-making process a whole lot easier. The way to find the right Philippines casino for you is to simply compare what different casinos have to offer; then, pick the casino that suits your needs the most.
When it comes to comparing online casinos, there are a number of different criteria you may wish to consider. These include the following:
Choice of Games
With gambling laws in the Philippines being quite relaxed, people in the country have access to all sorts of online casinos. They can therefore play all sorts of games, from popular classics from the last decade or so, to all the greatest and most exciting recently released games. Online casinos available in the Philippines have loads of different games, from table and card games and slots, to live dealer games, video poker, scratch cards, virtual sports, bingo and more.
There are dozens of big-name providers whose games can be played at online casinos in the Philippines, such as:
- Play’n Go
- Big Time Gaming
- Evolution Gaming
- Scientific Games
- 1X2 Gaming…to name just a few
Every casino has some sort of welcome offer for new players. This is a bonus you can claim on making your first deposit; some even have offers for your first few deposits and some have no deposit bonuses you can claim before you’ve even funded your account. Some promotional offers are always around, while others are only available to claim for a short period of time. As well as the welcome offer and regular promotions, look out for a loyalty scheme and VIP club. Both of these offer more rewards the more loyal to the casino you are.
The line-up of accepted payment methods varies from casino to casino. Pretty much every one accepts Visa and Mastercard. Other commonly accepted payment methods include:
- E-wallets such as Neteller, Skrill and PayPal
- Local bank transfers
- Prepaid cards
There are even some online casinos that accept cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin. Fees for making deposits and/or withdrawals may apply. Thankfully, though, most casinos don’t charge anything. When it comes to withdrawals, the amount of time you have to wait for the casino to process your withdrawal request can be anything from a working day or less, to several working days.
Practically every online casino can be played on mobile devices, including both smartphones and tablets. Some even have their own dedicated app, which offers a slighter higher quality of game performance. Casino apps can typically be downloaded onto iOS and Android devices only. If you’re keen to take the casino games with you, it’s ideal if you can find an online casino with good mobile compatibility.
Languages and Currencies
Most Philippines online casinos should be available in the Filipino language. You’ll find that English is widely available at Philippines casinos, with some offering a few other major world languages as well. As for currencies, most casinos should accept the Philippines peso. If they don’t, you’ll still be able to play; you’ll just have to have the casino convert your currency for you.
Any good casino should have at least a few ways of getting in touch available. These can include:
- a live chat feature
- an email address
- a phone line
- many casinos also have links to their social media pages available to click on
Ideally, customer support should be available round-the-clock, so you can get in touch no matter what time of the day or night it is. Customer support is there to help you whenever you have an issue or question of any kind. Most of the time, you shouldn’t need to get in touch, though it’s handy to know there’s someone there should you need help of any kind.
Of course, you should only ever consider casinos that are licensed. A casino without a licence may be unsafe and unreliable; as a word of warning, you should never sign up to a casino that doesn’t have a licence, just to be on the safe side. The Casino Gorilla would never recommend an unlicensed casino – he wants all his readers to be safe and secure when gambling online.
So once you’ve found some licensed Philippines casinos, compare them according to the criteria above. Or have a look online for some casino reviews to see what other people think of them. If you pick one of the casino’s the Casino Gorilla has recommended, you’ll be in very safe hands in deed. He only picks out the casinos that he would sign up to. Stick with one of his choices and you’ll no doubt have a great time playing casino games, claiming bonuses and hopefully cashing out some nice, big winnings.
Gambling in the Philippines
Gambling has long been a popular pastime in the Philippines. It remains widely practised to this day, with all sorts of gambling taking place regularly across the country. PAGCOR oversees and regulates the vast majority of the country’s gambling practices and generates funds for the government through gambling.
In fact, PAGCOR is the third biggest contributor to governmental revenue in the country, after only the Bureau of Internal Revenue and the Bureau of Customs.
Along with PAGCOR, there are several other gambling organisations in the country:
- PSCO, which stands for ‘Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office’ is charged with organising lottery games and sweepstakes for various programs to do with public health and welfare.
- Horse racing is regulated by the Philippine Racing Commission, with betting on horse races overseen by the Games and Amusement Board.
Gambling is fast becoming a more prevalent activity in the Philippines. Most forms of gambling are legal, however there are several numbers games that have been deemed illegal. Betting on blood sports, such as cockfighting and even spider wrestling, is carried out in many provinces. Gambling also takes place at funerals. It’s a common practice for vigils to be held at wakes until the deceased is buried. While vigils are being held, betting games often take place. Mahjong, bingo, poker and a national version of tarot cards, are among the games commonly played at vigils. Betting takes place on these games and the family of the deceased usually receive a share of the winnings, which helps them cover the cost of the funeral.
The Philippines is fast becoming a major destination for gambling. The country has quite a large number of land-based casinos.
In fact, there are more Philippine casinos than there are casinos in Macau.
Macau has the world’s largest gambling industry and generates seven times more revenue from gambling than Las Vegas. Even though the Philippines’ gambling industry isn’t quite the largest, the country is on its way to becoming one of the primary gambling destinations in all of Asia.
Offline gambling is a lot more popular throughout the country than online gambling. It’s generally seen as more of a social activity than anything and doesn’t really have many negative connotations as such. While the laws to do with online gambling are quite relaxed compared with other countries, there still remains the fact that Philippine online casinos can’t accept Philippine players. Hopefully this will be amended in the near future so that people in the country have even more online casinos to choose from.