The Philippines is an archipelagic country in Southeast Asia consisting of around 7,641 islands. The country is synonymous with gambling, which dates back to the 16th Century.
Recently, online gambling, especially casino and mobile games, have been on the rise, and the industry looks promising.
While land casinos exist, the availability of cheap Smartphones and the impressive 60.1% internet penetration in 2017, which has definitely risen, has spurred the popularity of mobile casino games.
Now, Filipinos can play their favorite online casino games and even the live dealer games while on the go, or at the comfort of their homes.
Online casinos in the Philippines are legal. The country is divided into two gambling regions, each with its regulatory body.
The first and the major area of the country is controlled by the state-owned Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR). The organization licenses all land-based casinos and betting outlets.
On the other hand, there is the Cagayan Freeport and Online Gambling License issued by the Cagayan Special Economic Zone Authority (CEZA). It regulates online casino operators in the Cagayan Special Economic Zone and Freeport region. The organization will license only operators who are offering casino games to tourists visiting the Philippines and anyone outside the Philippines.
While the government bans Filipino players from playing online casino games operated locally, gamers can access international online casinos that accept players from the Philippines. Well, that's a relief for the large market with an insatiable appetite for gambling. But then, players need to exercise due diligence.
While there are many online casinos open to Filipinos, it's important to play on licensed casinos only. Look out for those that are licensed in Malta, Curacao, the UK, Sweden, or any other jurisdiction. The unlicensed casinos will hardly pay winnings, and in the worst cases, they are normally after players' data.
Online casinos offer promotions that include free money for players. While strict wagering requirements bind these offers, they are a great deal for the newbies, but don't expect to withdraw any winnings. For real winnings, players need to play with real money, and if they are lucky enough, winnings can be withdrawn anytime.
But while gambling is fun, it can turn out to be the worst nightmare if not played responsibly. Gamblers should not risk all their money on betting, expecting to win big. Budgeting the amount of spending on betting is also crucial. Lastly, relying on betting as a source of income is highly discouraged.
The Philippines is keeping a close eye on the gambling industry, especially online casinos. Recently, the new Anti-Money Laundering Law was introduced, and one of the areas it targets is the dirty business in the gambling industry where a lot of money laundering goes on.
The country has been on the spot after the 2016 Bangladeshi bank heist where part of the loot was laundered through the Philippine gaming industry. While it's highly unlikely that the government will open up local online casinos to the locals, Filipino players will still have access to the vast international casinos.