Online gambling has become big business in the Philippines, with the government making moves to regulate the industry to keep Filipino gambling revenue in the local economy. We explain more about the online gambling laws in the Philippines and where Filipino players are safe to play real money casino games online.
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Gambling laws in the Philippines
Gambling has been prevalent in the Philippines since the 16th Century, and remains hugely popular today, however the gambling laws vary. In the Philippines, it is legal to bet on casino games, government-run lotteries, horse racing, cock fighting, and some street games like mah-jong, tongits and sakla, but it is illegal to bet on Jueteng, Masaio and Last Two, which are all number games that remain hugely popular in the Philippines despite being outlawed.
Gambling in the Philippines is overseen by the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR), which is a government owned and controlled company that runs under the Office of the President of the Republic of the Philippines. PAGCOR exists to regulate, authorise and license casino games, card games and games of chance in the Philippines, generate revenue for the national development programs and help promote the Filipino tourism industry.
There is a thriving land based casino industry in the Philippines, which attracts international high rollers from Asian countries like China and Japan where casinos are illegal, making it a hot spot for junket operators. In fact, there are more casinos in the Philippines than there are in Macau, which is Asia’s biggest gambling hub. Some of the Philippines biggest casinos include City of Dreams Manila, Resorts World Manila, Solaire Resort & Casino and Okada Manila.
Is online gambling legal in the Philippines?
Online gambling is incredibly popular in the Philippines, with the industry starting to hit a boom period as the country implements a new regulatory system for local and offshore operators. In 2016, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte took a vocal stance against online gambling, saying the government would focus on a crackdown on illegal gambling sites. Many saw this as a warning that online gambling would not be tolerated in the Philippines, but instead the government has started to regulate the industry, with PAGCOR now granting online casino licenses to authorised vendors.
The decision to issue online gambling licenses was made to keep gambling revenue on Filipino soil, while ensuring games are properly regulated and monitored, and that minors and vulnerable players are protected. PAGCOR is responsible for distributing online gambling licenses to suitable applicants, while working closely with the Philippine National Police, the National Bureau of Investigation and other law enforcement agencies to safeguard against unauthorised gambling operators. Offshore casinos are also allowed to apply for licenses from PAGCOR to service the Filipino market. Application fees cost $50,000 for online casinos and $40,000 for sports betting, plus another $200,000 and $150,000 respectively once the license is approved.
To sum up, it is legal for Filipino players to gamble online, provided the casino has been issued with a license from PAGCOR. Despite this, many offshore casinos without a Philippines license continue to service the Filipino market, with no penalties in place for players who continue to frequent these international gambling sites. If you choose to play at an offshore casino site that isn’t licensed in the Philippines, be aware you are doing so at your own risk and you should take extra safety precautions, like using a VPN service, for an added layer of security.
Best casino sites for Filipinos
Despite PAGCOR’s new regulations, there are still plenty of reputable offshore casino sites that continue to service the Filipino market. Our top-rated casino sites that allow players from the Philippines are recommended in the casino table above.
These leading online casinos meet all the right criteria for trustworthy casino sites. They are licensed by reputable gambling jurisdictions, offer a large selection of casino games from leading software developers and have some great welcome bonuses for new players. You can read our detailed reviews of each casino site to find out more about what each venue has to offer, and sign up using our links to get access to some exclusive sign-up promos.
How to play for real money using PHP
The Philippine Peso (PHP) is not widely accepted at online casino sites, but that doesn’t mean Filipinos can’t still play online for real money. If an online casino does not accept PHP deposits, it simply means your money will be converted into a more widely accepted currency, like EUR, GBP, or USD. Note that some currency conversion fees or an international transaction fee may apply, but this will depend on the terms and conditions of your chosen online casino.
To play for real money, all you need to do is sign up for an account with a reputable casino site, like any of those recommended in our geo-targeted table above, making sure to take advantage of any welcome bonuses available to Filipino players along the way. Once you have logged in, go the casino’s banking section and select your deposit method from the list of options provided. Payment options vary from casino to casino, but popular deposit methods include Visa, MasterCard, Neteller, Skrill, Paysafecard and direct bank wire.
Once your account has been funded with real money, you can start playing online casino games like the slots, blackjack, roulette, video poker, baccarat and more. Any winnings you make will be automatically credited back to your account, where you can cash out your winnings or continue to play further.
If you’re a complete newbie to the world of online gambling, read our beginners guide to depositing at online casinos to find out more.