Gambling Laws in the Philippines

Gambling Laws in the Philippines image

The Philippines is an archipelago made up of over 7,000 islands and is located in South East Asia. Gambling is quite predominant in the country and different gambling types abound in the country, both legal and illegal. Due to the high prevalence of gambling activities in the country, the government has come in to regulate gambling operations and also get funding from these games of chance. Another reason why the Philippine government takes gambling operations seriously is that of the important role these games of chance play in the country’s tourism industry.


Types of Legal and Illegal Gambling in the Philippines

Most of the Gambling types in the Philippines are legal. This includes; the lottery games, land-based casinos, and bingo. Though most gambling types are legal in the Philippines there are two games which the government has prohibited.


One of these games is Jueteng. This is a number game with no minimum and maximum bet limits. The temptation to get rich quickly lures the participants to place high bet amounts with the hope of reaping much once the game outcome favors them. The main reason which made the government prohibit this game is due to its low probability rates. The probability of winning in this game is quite low, as low as 1/1369 since there are 37 times 37 chances for a win. This implies that the operators reap more profits from the participants than what is fair.


The other illegal game in the Philippines is the Masiao. This is a number game and is majorly played in the Visayas and in Mindanao. The bad side with this game is that it can be manipulated to favor those who operate this business. Thus, it is overly unfair and this offers one of the reasons why it is prohibited in the Philippines.


Stance on Offline Gambling in the Philippines

The Philippine government has legalized most of the land-based gambling in the country. This has led to a growth of a wide array of offline gambling games in the country. One of the popular offline games which have taken root in the country is the casino game.


Businesses such as hotels, bars, and restaurants have embraced Casino games as a compliment method of earning extra income. Besides the extra income, these casino games help these businesses attract more clientele translating to increased profits. The hotel businesses located in the tourist resorts in the Philippines are one of the biggest beneficiaries of these land-based games. These hotels offer different casino games to attract and retain the tourist communities visiting the country and reap huge profits from these undertakings.


Stance on Online Gambling in the Philippines

Most Asian Countries do not allow online gambling. The Philippines is an exception since it allows most of the online gaming activities. This could be explained by the fact that unlike other Asian countries where the predominant religion is Islam, Philippine’s predominant religion is Christian.


The Philippine regulations allow Filipino-based companies to obtain gambling licenses to operate online gambling businesses. The interesting part of these regulations is that these licensed online gambling companies are not allowed to accept bets from the Filipino residents. They are thus licensed to operate in the Philippines but have to look for their markets from other countries.


Though the law prohibits Filipino-based online gambling companies from accepting bets from Filipinos, the Philippine residents can register and participate in online gambling activities on websites run by non-Philippine companies.


Stance on Cryptocurrency and Bitcoin Gambling in the Philippines

The Philippines government has set very clear regulations on the use of cryptocurrencies. The law allows the use of cryptocurrencies in the Philippine economy. The government expressed its position in January 2018 through the country’s central bank statement which acknowledged that cryptocurrencies were an essential part in revolutionizing the Philippines economy. Considering the fact that online gambling in the Philippines is legal, it goes without saying that cryptocurrency gambling is also legal. The only limitation is that Filipino citizens will have to find offshore companies to participate in cryptocurrency games since those registered and licensed within the country are not allowed to accept bets from the residents of the Philippines.


Regulatory Authorities and Important Laws

Regulatory Authorities: There are two main bodies which regulate gambling operations and activities in the Philippines.

  • The Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR): This body licenses and oversees all the gambling operations within the country.
  • Cagayan Special Economic Zone and Freeport (CEZA): This authority is tasked with issuing all online gambling licenses. It also charged with supervising the online gambling companies to see to it that they comply with all the applicable law.


Important Laws: There are several presidential decrees and laws which regulate gambling in the Philippines. The prominent laws and presidential decrees include:

  • The 1975 Presidential Decree: This decree defines gambling as a game of chance. This decree necessitated the creation of the PAGCOR authority to oversee all land-based gambling activities.
  • The 1994 Republic Act: This law established the special economic zone commonly known as Cayagan Valley. Later amendments of this act tasked The CEZA with the responsibility of overseeing all online gambling operations.
  • The 2017 Republic Act: This law was enacted to curb money laundering activities. The law sets the compliance requirements for Casinos and has penalties for financing illegal activities such as terrorist undertakings.



The Philippines has one of the friendliest legal climates for those who would wish to carry out gambling activities within the country. The regulations also allow residents to participate in offshore gambling activities implying that international companies can easily benefit from the gambling market in the Philippines. The gambling market is open to both private and public entities once they meet the minimum licensing and compliance requirements. For the enthusiasts of cryptocurrency gambling, this should be a haven for them.

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