Gambling Laws in the Philippines

Online gambling and the industry, in general, have a special place in the colorful history and culture of the Philippines. To fully describe its culture, one has to include the local’s connection and passion for games, sports, and gambling. Gambling has been present in the archipelago since the 16th century. Due to its proximity to mainland China, locals have been playing different types of games and place bets even before the arrival of colonizers. According to many records, both written and anecdotal, the early settlers place bets on cockfights.

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Online Gambling in the Philippines

Gambling laws in the Philippines

During the Spanish occupation, other forms of gambling were introduced, particularly horse racing and card games. During the 1930s, lottery or known as ‘sweepstakes’ became popular and was institutionalized. Soon, different forms of gambling were formed which gave rise to illegal activities. To address these, the government established the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation or PAGCOR to operate several state-run casinos and regulate other operators under the gambling laws in the Philippines. This agency also grants licenses to operators that plan to set shop in the country and offer services to players.

Aside from PAGCOR, the country is home to Cagayan Special Economic Zone and Freeport. This is an area not under the control of PAGCOR which is also tasked to operate casinos and approve the licenses of casino operators. However, under the licensing rules, casino services are only available for tourists and foreign players. As of this writing, this is the only jurisdiction in Asia that approves licenses of iGaming operators. Together with PAGCOR, the Cagayan Freeport help sustain the gambling industry.

Today, casino gambling and resorts are critical components of the campaign to attract tourists and guests. However, this does not mean that Filipinos can gamble anytime, anywhere. When you check the current landscape, there’s a gambling law. Philippines, as one leading economies in Asia, takes gambling operations seriously. Yes, you can play casino games and participate in some gambling activities, but these should be within the prescribed limits

The Philippines Offer a Favorable Gambling Environment

As a player and a game enthusiast based in the Philippines, you’ll be glad to know that there are laws in place and gambling platforms that can accommodate your requirements. In 2019, online gambling in the country was the subject of policy debates and conversations on the streets. Thanks to the gambling law in the Philippines, there was an increase in the participation of Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators or the POGOs. Licensed and operating from the Philippines, these operators are targeting foreign players including Chinese. Due to laws and a friendly climate that promote legal gambling in the Philippines, the services of these operators thrived.

However, the success of these companies comes at a cost: the Chinese Government requested the Philippine Government to stop its operations. This request did not stop the government from hosting these operators; today, these gaming operators are still present and contribute to the economy. This arrangement only validates the belief that online gambling laws in the Philippines are ‘friendly and accommodating’.

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Is It Legal for Filipinos to Play Games Online?

If the laws allow offshore companies to operate and provide services to foreign players, how about the Filipino residents? The good news is that yes, players from the Philippines can also take part in online casino entertainment based on existing gambling laws in the Philippines. If you’re a resident, you can legally play casino games as long as its an offshore licensed website. The current online casino Philippines legal arrangement is further backed by a 2012 court ruling that explains that there are no specific provisions in any President Decrees or other online gambling laws in the Philippines that make it illegal for locals to place real money bets online.

However, locally run and licensed online casinos are not allowed to accept real money bets from Filipinos. In short, interested players should go to offshore online casinos to take part in games and place bets. Also, the gambling laws in the Philippines are focused on operators and companies and not individuals. In case certain issues or problems crop up related to these games and the poor understanding of illegal gambling law in the Philippines, the burden is on the operator and not the player.

Know the Gambling laws in the Philippines Before You Play Online

Access to information is critical and this also applies to online casino gaming. When you have access to the right set of information including local laws, you don’t just enjoy the games within the bounds of the law. Understanding the law also gives you the chance to play lucrative games in welcoming and fully regulated gambling platforms. To get more understanding about regulated casinos, offshore sites, and those licensed by PAGCOR and Cagayan Special Economic Zone and Freeport, we highly recommend that you check out our site.

As a leading online resource for all things related to online casinos and Philippine gambling laws, we can provide you with advice and recommendations you need to stay safe.


⚖️ Is online gambling illegal in the Philippines?

No. Online gambling is not illegal in the Philippines. The law states that players can gamble on foreign online bookmakers and casino operators.

Is online betting on sabong legal?

Yes. Online betting on sabong is legal in the Philippines. This is a 6,000-year-old sport that has been transformed into a fully-legal, multi-million dollar industry.