Philippines online betting is big business. This majorly stems from the fact that the hobby is rooted in the tradition of the country. Generally, it’s safe to say that this Asian island nation is quite immune to the cultural and religious hindrances that have impeded the development of gambling in other parts of the world. Filipinos are strong believers in the concepts of luck, fate, and chance. Gambling is not purely an income-generating activity in the Philippines. It’s also a pastime. People gamble even at funerals, where it is considered a way to honor the dead. Consequently, it is not unusual to see Mahjong, Sakia and card tables set up at wakes. Animal fight betting involves anything from dogs to cocks, to spiders. Nonetheless, of course, not all forms of gambling are legal in the Philippines. The last Two, Jueteng and Masiao – all numbers games – are outlawed by the authorities. Lawful ways of chance gaming in the country include:
- Casino: these are physical, land-based establishments where gambling is done via casino chips, slot machines, cards and more. A wide variety of games are played, including slots, roulette, poker, blackjack and Sic Bo.
- Sweepstakes: Games of luck where the winner (usually) takes all the prize.
- Lotteries e.g. Superlotto 6/49, Lotto 6/42, Megalotto 6/45, etc.
- Horse race betting
- Cock (and other animals) fighting.
Legal gambling is regulated by the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation, PAGCOR. Lotteries and sweepstakes are under the purview of the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office, PCSO. Both are government agencies. So, in the midst of all this, where does Philippines online betting stand?
Philippines Online Betting – Legal Or Illegal?
By the strictest definition of the term, Philippines online betting is not illegal. However, it can be thought of as illegal (or at least prohibited) depending on one’s line of reasoning. The Philippines can be divided into two regions from an online gambling perspective. There’s a northern area of the country referred to as the Cagayan Special Economic Zone and Freeport, and the Philippines in general.
PAGCOR regulates all gambling (including Philippines online betting) in the latter, while the Cagayan Economic Zone Authority (CEZA) is in charge of the former. In the special economic zone, anything goes. CEZA grants companies licenses to run online casinos, and residents may use the services. On the other hand, PAGCOR does not allow (license) any company to operate an online casino, except in the special economic zone. To do so would be illegal for both the operator and player. Online gambling companies licensed in the special economic zone may not offer services to players in the rest of the Philippines. That’s even though they are allowed (and encouraged) to have overseas customers.
What Are Online Betting Fans To Do?
Luckily enough, the government does not have a bone to pick with Philippines online betting players as long as they don’t use an (illegal) local operator. If you’re outside the special economic zone, then use an offshore online gambling operator. Thankfully, there are plenty of those to go around! A few online casino/sportsbook examples include:
At the time of writing, the general Philippines online betting picture is that the government will eventually allow local businesses to set up as online gambling operators. However, owing to a history of rampant money laundering in the country, the rollout will likely be a cautious, deliberately slow one.