Gambling laws in the Philippines have been established to regulate casinos and protect players. The Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) was created by the government to oversee and license the industry, as well as distribute the revenue generated from these activities to other government branches. Over the years, amendments have been made to fine-tune the gambling industry in the country.
At present, brick-and-mortar casinos and poker rooms can be found throughout the Philippines. While the current president may not support legal online gambling in the country, the existing laws regarding this form of gambling do not impose any restrictions. This page will provide detailed information about the gambling laws that apply to Filipino players and the gambling market in the region.
Is Gambling Legal In The Philippines?
Yes, gambling is legal in the Philippines as long as it is conducted under proper licenses and regulations. In 1975, President Ferdinand Marcos enacted Decree No. 1067-A, which defined legal gambling and established the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) to license and regulate the industry. PAGCOR is a government agency responsible for overseeing the gambling industry with the goal of promoting tourism and funding infrastructure development. Additionally, PAGCOR also operates numerous casinos, owning at least 46 of them across the islands as of early 2017.
Is Online Gambling Legal In The Philippines?
Yes, currently there are no specific laws in the Philippines that deem online gambling illegal for residents. However, it is important to note that Filipino-based casinos and sportsbooks are prohibited from offering their online services to residents of the Philippines. On the other hand, Filipino players are allowed to participate in legal online poker, online casinos, horse betting, and online sports betting sites as long as these platforms are regulated and licensed by local regulatory agencies or gaming commissions. The existing gambling laws in the Philippines primarily focus on regulating and overseeing casino operators rather than penalizing individual players.
Philippine Regulatory Agencies
Philippine Amusement And Gaming Corporation –(PAGCOR) is a government-owned corporation exclusively authorized to operate, license, and regulate various games of chance. Its primary purpose is to generate revenue for national development programs implemented by the government. PAGCOR has the authority to oversee and grant licenses for a wide range of gambling activities within the country.
First Cagayan Leisure And Resort Corporation – (FCRLC) has established its own set of laws and regulations governing its economic region. The main objective of FCRLC is to develop a self-sufficient industry that generates employment opportunities and income for the Metropolis of Santa Ana. These laws and regulations are designed to support the growth and sustainability of the economic zone and its associated industries.
Philippine Racing Commission – (PHILRACOM) is dedicated to ensuring the efficient and fair operations of horse racing, which encompasses both the sport and gambling aspects. Its primary objectives include improving the breed of Philippine horses, preventing the illegal importation of sporting horses, and promoting the overall development of the horse racing industry. PHILRACOM plays a crucial role in maintaining the integrity and sustainability of horse racing in the Philippines.
Games And Amusements Board – (GAB) is the regulatory body responsible for overseeing and supervising professional sports in the Philippines. Its primary focus is to prevent the proliferation of illegal bookmakers and other forms of illicit gambling related to combat sports and amusement games. GAB plays a crucial role in ensuring the integrity of pay-to-play sports and works towards maintaining a fair and transparent environment for athletes, participants, and spectators.
Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office – is the primary government agency responsible for organizing and regulating sweepstakes and lottery games in the Philippines. In addition to its role in the gaming industry, the PCSO also plays a significant role in welfare-related health investments. The agency utilizes a portion of the revenue generated from its gaming operations to support various healthcare programs and initiatives, with the aim of providing assistance and benefits to the Filipino population.
FAQs About Philippine Gambling Laws
What Is The Legal Gambling Age in The Philippines?
The legal gambling age for participation in domestic gambling entertainment throughout the Philippines is 21 years old. However, in the Cagayan Special Economic Zone, residents are allowed to engage in gambling activities from the age of 18 and above. It's important to note that the age restrictions may vary depending on the specific region or jurisdiction within the country.
What Forms Of Gambling Are Legal In The Philippines?
Both domestic brick-and-mortar gambling and offshore online gambling are allowed in the Philippines. The country permits the operation of physical casinos and gambling establishments within its jurisdiction. Additionally, offshore online gambling, where players can access and participate in online gambling platforms operated outside the Philippines, is also permitted for Filipino players.
Why Can’t I Participate In Philippines Based Online Gambling?
The current President holds the view that online gambling poses a significant issue and would prefer to prohibit it for Filipino residents. He believes that online gambling has become a widespread problem throughout the country and, as a result, local casinos are not allowed to provide their online services to Filipino residents in accordance with his stance.
What Is The Penalty For Illegal Gambling In The Philippines?
Under Republic Act No. 9287, engaging in illegal gambling can result in penalties ranging from a minimum of 30 days to a maximum of 20 years of imprisonment, depending on the specific offense committed. The severity of the punishment is determined based on the nature and gravity of the illegal gambling activity. 30-90 days for a person caught in the act of illegal gambling participating as a bettor.
6-8 years for personal or staff of an illegal number game.
10-12 years for a coordinator of an illegal numbers game.
12-14 years for a manager, maintainer or operator.
14-16 years for a financier or capitalist
16-20 years for a protector or coddler
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