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Is Online Gambling Legal in the Philippines?
The short answer to this question is yes, as there are two distinct sets of iGaming laws for players and operators to adhere to in the Philippines.
In simple terms, there’s no law or single piece of legislation that prohibits national citizens from gambling online.
However, it’s completely illegal for any domestic or independent operator to offer online betting and casino verticals to local customers, creating a scenario where offshore companies with no connection to the Philippines are able to target nationals.
In this respect, citizens are free to wager freely both on and offline throughout the Philippines, under the overarching guidance of the aforementioned PAGCOR (which also operates accessible betting terminals nationwide).
How do we Review the Top Online Casinos in the Philippines?
With this in mind, the world’s market leading casino operators are able to target players in the Philippines with all of their online verticals.
But how do we compare and review the best virtual casinos in the region?
Here’s some of the key criteria:
Safety and Security:
Whilst most offshore operators will be fully-established and reputable, we’ll review each available platform to ensure that it’s secure and transparent. As a general rule, all of our casinos have 128-bit SSL encryption as a minimum, ensuring that your financial data is processed safely at all times.
On a similar note, operators in the Philippines are accustomed to competing in busy marketplaces. As a result, they’ll offer variable and generous welcome bonuses to all new players, and we’ll review these in detail to help you identify the best one.
Players in the Philippines can also access an array of deposit methods, most of which allow for instantaneous transactions. This number also includes several electronic payment methods, including Entropay and Bitcoin (which is one the most popular options in the region).
You can also withdraw your winnings through a number of different channels, and once again most of these options allow for incredibly fast and, in some instances instant, payouts.
Globally, it’s thought that more than half of all online gamblers regularly wager through a smartphone or tablet. This trend also applies in the Philippines, so operators who are active in the region tend to offer HTML5 games through an instant play platform or native apps for both iOS and Android.
Given their global presence and huge resources, operators in the Philippines tend to offer exceptional levels of customer service to players. Available across live chat, email and even freephone in some cases, this support is crucial when resolving queries or lifting any unfair restrictions.
Established Game Providers:
As you can imagine, the operators active in the Philippines have access to a huge range of established software houses, including Microgaming, NetEnt, Playtech and many more. We’ve reviewed each operator to see who powers their games’ libraries.
Licensing and Regulations:
When we review an online casino in the Philippines, we list each operator’s licensing information and detail the precise locations that they’re able to work in.
Playing with Real Money – What Currencies can you wager with at Online Casinos in the Philippines?
As an online gambler, there are numerous benefits to wagering in your local currency. This certainly makes it easier to calculate your winnings, whilst it also negates the cost of converting your local currency into one that’s accepted at your casino of choice.
Unfortunately, the overwhelming majority of online casinos active in the Philippines don’t accept the region’s national currency, which is known colloquially as the Philippine Peso.
Whilst this may be a little inconvenient for gamblers in the Philippines, the good news is that they can convert their pesos into several more accessible currencies. These include the Euro, the British pound and the Canadian Dollar, so you simply need to check the real-time exchange rates to ensure that you get the best possible deal.
At the same time, here are some of the payment methods that are widely available when wagering at an online casino in the Philippines:
• Visa Debit
• Wire Transfer
Which Casino Games are Available in the Philippines?
Whilst sports betting represents a growing market in the Philippines, it’s casino gameplay that largely dominates the attention of players.
There’s certainly huge demand for a diverse range of casino games here, from universal favourites like blackjack and roulette to Pai Gow.
• Slots: Slots have been central to the growth of iGaming across the globe, accounting for nearly two-thirds of the online GGY in the UK alone. The Philippines is no exception to this rule, with popular slots such as Party Pigs, Jack Hammer, South Park and Rainbow Riches widely available nationwide.
• Table Games: Given the Philippine’s love for land-based casinos, is stands to reason that table games should remain popular amongst online players. Baccarat is particularly popular, for example, whilst games like Multi-hand Blackjack, European Roulette and Casino Hold ‘em are also widely available.
• Poker and Casual Games: We’ve already touched on the popularity of the Chinese title Pai Gow, which is a game of chance that’s played with a set of 32 dominoes. At an online casino in the Philippines, you can also access a wide range of video poker titles, including All-American Double Up, Jacks or Better and Deuces Wild.
• Live Casino: Operators in the Philippines offer immersive and authentic live casino platforms, the majority of which are powered by market leading developers such as Evolution Gaming and NetEnt Live. As a result, you can access a huge range of live and high-stakes table games, including various iterations of blackjack and roulette.
Popular Casinos Accepting Players from the Philippines
OK, we hear you ask, but which online casino platforms offer the best value to players from the Philippines?
In truth, the answer will vary depending on your own unique preferences, but here’s three operators that are considered to be amongst the best in the region:
• 888.com: We start with 888.com, which is one of the most well-known casino brands in the world. It’s also available to players throughout the benefits, who can benefit from a huge range of slots and table games whilst also accessing a bonus offer up to the value of €140.
• Play Frank Casino: Players at the Play Frank Casino can certainly enjoy a diverse array of games, with up to 1,200 currently on offer across various verticals. As a new player, you can also earn a 100% welcome offer up to the value of £100, along with 50 free spins on selected slots.
• Playzee: The global Playzee platform is also home to a huge array of games, with 1,000 casino titles and slots currently on offer. A large number of the world’s leading software houses are represented here too, including NetEnt, Blueprint Gaming, Red Tiger and many more.
Playing Online Casino Games with a Real Live Dealer
Live games are extremely popular in the Philippines, primarily because the nation’s subjects are so engaged with bricks and mortar gambling.
The online operators that are active in the Philippines also offer live casino platforms that have been developed by some of the world’s most renowned software houses, with Evolution Gaming and NetEnt creating experiences that are authentic, well-paced and extremely immersive.
This means that players in the Philippines can access engaging live iterations of roulette, blackjack, poker and baccarat online and through their mobile devices, along with innovative titles such as Monopoly Live. There are also high and low stakes games on offer, with VIP Blackjack and Auto Roulette VIP offering huge returns to high-rollers.
Players in the Philippines can also enjoy several live casino experiences that have been inspired by gameshows, including Deal or No Deal, Lightening Dice and the incredibly popular Dream Catcher.
Casino Bonuses and Free Spins
Online casinos in the Philippines are used to offering lucrative welcome offers to their players, not least because they also operate in some of the most established and competitive iGaming markets in the world.
Most of the current market leaders tend to offer deposit match welcome offers of between 100% and 200%, usually up to an average value of around $200.
A growing number of these bonus packages also include a generous number of free spins, whilst it’s not unusual in the Philippines to see promotions that are focused solely on slot games. Play Ojo is currently running a welcome bonus worth 50 free spins on the popular Book of the Dead slot, for example, and this is a great way of targeting casual gamblers in the region.
Some promotions may also offer up to 150 free spins in some instances, so it’s important to use our resources and identify the bonuses that are most suitable for you.
What’s a Bonus Wagering Requirement?
In the UK market, wagering requirements have come under incredible scrutiny of late, with the national regulator having clamped down on the terms and conditions associated with bonus offers.
This has impacted on several of the iGaming brands currently active in the Philippines, which in turn means that players can now benefit from fair and increasingly transparent terms when leveraging promotions.
Wagering requirements refer to the amount of cash that players must play through before unlocking their bonus winnings, and this can be anywhere between 20% and 50% the total value of the promotion.
So, if you’re initial deposit and bonus amount total £20 and you’re faced with wagering requirements of 35-times, you’ll have to gamble £700 before you can access your winnings. This is quite a commitment, so you’ll need to review each bonus offer’s terms and conditions before you make a decision.
The Casino Market in the Philippines
The casino market in the Philippines has enjoyed tremendous growth since 2016, with this market worth an approximate 158 billion pesos just three years ago.
This increased by 7.6% to 170 billion pesos the following year, whilst 2018 saw the nation’s gambling GGY increase by a further 9.4% to 186 billion pesos (or $3.57 billion to you and me).
There are two key factors driving this sustained growth, with the first being the rising popularity of online and mobile gambling nationwide. Make no mistake; iGaming is growing to account for a larger share of the total market, even though this sector remains under central government control.
The rising demand for online gambling has also triggered a rise in the number of licenses issued to offshore gambling operators active in the Philippines. This number is also like to increase further as the market’s value continues to boom.
Online Casinos Gambling Rules and Regulations in Philippines
As we’ve already touched upon, the overwhelming majority of districts in the Philippines comes under the strict jurisdiction of the so-called PAGCOR, which is a state-owned entity that licenses all land-based casinos and offshore online operators.
The PAGCOR not only issues all licenses in the Philippines, but it also continuously regulates the marketplace and monitors existing licensees for compliance. Operators who want to enter this burgeoning market will be required to pay up to $40,000 to complete a formal application, along with an additional $48,000 fee for their first year of trading once approved.
Of course, players are able to avoid the stringent eye of regulators, as the centralised nature and stringent approach of the PAGCOR has created a climate where players can wager freely offline and through offshore operators online.
Interestingly, there is a small region in the Philippines that exists outside the jurisdiction of the PAGCOR. Commonly known as the Cagayan Special Economic Zone and Freeport, this region is home to several independent casinos that are permitted to offer their services to tourists only. The Cagayan Freeport area also acts as an online gambling licensing jurisdiction, making it extremely popular amongst small and domestic operators.
Play at the Best Philippines Casinos
With so many online casinos currently active across the globe, it can be to choose the right one for you! At the Gambling Metropolis, however, we’ve reviewed the best casino operators in hundreds of different countries, including the Philippines!