Member Login    

Betting in The Philippines

Published on: 08/08/2016

In 1946, the Republic of the Philippines finally achieved independence. For centuries previously, the country had been under Japanese, American and Spanish control. Gambling activity in the Philippines can be traced back to the late 1800s when cock fighting was actually classed as a national sport.

Unlawful gambling activity was rife throughout the Philippines for many years following independence. However, there were a few legal gambling options available such as Jai Alai betting and church-arranged Bingo events.

In 1976, the President initiated the formation of a government monopoly, called the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR). The corporation is owned by the state and is managed by the Office of the President of the Republic of the Philippines. It continues to ensure that gambling activities are kept under control.

The corporation authorises and regulates casino games and other betting products, and also grants gambling licenses. In addition, they actively promote the tourist trade, which is important for creating revenues that benefit local welfare schemes. The Philippine government authorised a 25 year extension on PAGCORs contract, starting from 2007. Three years on, the gambling revenues exceeded $1 billion - a huge increase from the previous five years - with sports wagering and casinos being the most profitable.

Throughout the nation there are at least 25 authorised casinos, 12 are managed by PAGCOR, with another 13 licensed venues available throughout the country including the Hyatt Hotel and Casino, and Resorts World Manila. Makati City is home to the nation’s only thoroughbred horseracing establishment, Santa Ana Park. There is one “racino” called the PAGCOR Club San Lazaro, which is in the city of Cevite.

The PAGCOR venues offer a variety of gambling options such as Pai Gow, Pontoon, Stud Poker, Craps, Roulette, Baccarat and Blackjack, as well as games machines. Punters must be 21 or over.

Generally, wagering via the internet is banned in the Philippines - however, in 1992, an area called Cagayan Freeport was assigned with special tax incentives to attract new business. The zone now facilitates 40 virtual casinos. Opportunities to gamble on the internet are few and far between. PAGCOR does offer online sports betting but the only events available are basketball, horseracing and cockfighting.

Philippine punters who want more choice with regard to internet sportsbooks have to visit foreign betting web sites such as Paddy Power, Ladbrokes, 888 Sport, Bwin and Bet365. Most off-shore sportsbooks are available in the English language. Citizens who have local addresses can carry out transactions - which are generally processed using the U.S. Dollar - via MasterCard and Visa Credit.

Many eWallets, including NETeller and MoneyBookers, also accept transactions using the Philippine peso. They offer services in English as well as Spanish.