Understanding the legal landscape for gambling in the Philippines is an important part of betting entertainment. It is also the best way to ensure you don’t end up on the wrong side of the tracks when enjoying some responsible gambling action. The good news is that the Philippines offer a gambling friendly environment and recognize the benefits of a strong, regulated gambling industry and the revenue it can bring into the region. This section of our website was created to provide potential players with some insight into the legalities surrounding gambling in the Philippines. It is not intended to substitute for professional legal advice or services, but rather is intended to serve as a guide for those seeking data that allows them to make informed decisions regarding legal online and offline gambling options.
Are Casinos Legal in the Philippines?
There are a number of land based casinos in the Philippines, located throughout the two gaming districts located among the islands. The primary district is the government-run region. The gambling industry in this region is regulated and tightly controlled by the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR). PAGCOR is a state owned entity, and is responsible for licensing and operations of all the land based casinos and/or betting outlets. There are approximately 42 land based casinos that are regulated by PAGCOR. Both Filipinos and international players may visit and enjoy the gambling options at the casinos and betting outlets that are run by PAGCOR.
The second gambling district is known as the Cagayan Special Economic Zone and Freeport. The independent casinos operating in the Cagayan Freeport district are licensed and regulated through the First Cagayan Leisure and Resort Corp (FCLRC). The casinos operating under the watchful eye of FCLRC gaming commission were initially only allowed to accept tourists as customers. However, this was changed in 2011, and Filipinos who stay at one of the casino resorts in the Freeport Zone are now categorized as tourists, and can legally enjoy the gambling options offered here. So to answer the original question, yes, gambling is legal in the Philippines.
Are Online Casinos Legal in the Philippines?
The Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation does license and regulate online gambling businesses, however these businesses are not allowed to offer their services to Filipino residents. There are no statutes within the Philippines gambling laws that prohibit Filipino residents from participating on legally licensed offshore betting sites. In addition, the FCLRC in the Cagayan Freeport district is an online gambling licensing jurisdiction, and at this time is the only one of its kind in all of Asia. Online gambling sites that are regulated by the FCLRC are prohibited by law from offering their services to residents of the Philippines.
Online gambling laws in the Philippines are all directed towards owner/operators and not players. While Filipino players may not have access to any local or state based online casinos, there are no restrictions placed upon them concerning offshore casino gambling. In fact, a court ruling in 2012 clarified that there are indeed no provisions within Philippines Law, including Presidential Decree 1602, that make it illegal for citizens to place bets. Hence, Filipino residents are free to play online casino games for real money wherever they so choose. Our guide here at legal casinos Philippines offers our own personal recommendations on which sites are not only reputable, but that are also legally licensed to accept Filipino players.
What is the Legal Gambling Age in the Philippines?
The minimum legal gambling age in the Philippines is 21 years of age. Underage gambling is taken very seriously by Filipino law enforcement, with strict penalties administered to anyone who knowingly accepts bets or wagers from an underage player. This is the law of the land, and also applies to offshore online gambling. Even if an online casino, sportsbook or poker room accepts players before their 21st birthday, Filipino residents are still bound by the legal gambling age of 21 and will be violating that law should they engage in online gambling below that minimum age requirement.
Are All Legally Licensed Offshore Online Casinos Safe?
No they are not. Just because a site is operating legally does not mean they are operating ethically. We strongly recommend that you consider the input of industry professionals who have vetted and reviewed online casinos to ensure you don’t land at a questionable or undesirable casino destination. Professional online gambling analysts who are experts in vetting the quality of legitimately licensed and regulated online casinos have approved the recommendations found in this guide.