Online Casinos in the Philippines
About a decade ago, the world took a turn it gambling when it went online. Most casinos started licensing online activities while developers began looking broadly into instant play and mobile gaming. The Philippines wasn't left behind, and within the decade, it has established itself as one of the only online gaming hubs in Asia. Because of this, the Philippines online casino scene is almost exploding with several regulated players keeping the Archipelago's people entertained.
Since the government didn't see the need to lock gambling out of peoples' reach, it formed the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) to regulate the industry and ensure all Filipino casino sites have adhered to set requirements. Formed in 2016, this body has been overseeing casino licensing and regulating incomes in partnership with the government. Now the Philippines is the only country in Asia with a licensing body for online gaming.
This article looks into the legality of gambling in the Philippines, what a new player needs to know about gambling online, and how to choose a good online casino Philippines. Even though there are native casinos in the country, there still are others from outside the country offering services to gamblers, and we use this article to tell you how to tell the legit ones from utter scams.
Top Filipino Online Casinos
How We Rate Best Online Casinos Philippines
Not every list of online casinos in the Philippines is ideal for gamblers because some of these casinos are unregulated and unlicensed. We use seasoned players to verify the legitimacy of an online gambling house from registration to licensing and playing. Below are some of the basics we check before giving a Philippine online casino the nod.
Licensing and Fair Play
Top of the list is licensing because only establishments with the government's full authority can safeguard a user's money and information. We check that the said casino online Philippines is regulated by PAGCOR and other known authorities such as the Malta Gaming Authority and the United Kingdom Gambling Commission. Information on licensing is displayed at the homepage of a casino's page, but we go a mile further to countercheck the license number with the said authorities since this information is available on request. Fair play ensures games are audited and presented in such a way that the luckiest wins. Unaudited games give online casinos Philippines an unfair advantage.
Variety of Banking Methods
Visa, MasterCard, and Amex are some of the banking methods accepted at most top online casinos Philippines. We look at more options, especially eWallets that are accepted in the country. PayPal, Neteller, and in some instances, Bitcoin have now become favorable options since they are cheaper than regular banks, and transactions are processed faster.
When looking at banking options, we consider transaction cost, the methods' safety, the time it takes for payment to process payments, and whether it is popular in the Philippines. If it meets all these conditions, we give the casino a nod. We also prefer to give our uses a variety of banking methods.
Supported Mobile Devices
The best online casino Philippines right now works with developers who use the latest HTML technology for game development. Why? Because the demography of gamblers is changing, we now see younger and younger game table experts than we did ten years ago. The best Filipino casino site has slots in mobile versions to accommodate this change, while some have taken it further to live gaming. We look at compatibility with Android and iOS for mobile devices – that includes tablets and iPads.
Quality Customer Support
Users of a casino's products will, at some point, need to contact customer care about its payment options, deposits and withdrawals, and several other issues. We test contact options to see how casino sites Philippines respond through email, phone numbers, live chats, and most of the time, their FAQ section. We first check to see whether they have a detailed FAQ section, and if not, we ask questions through the said means. We observe how long each method takes to respond on weekdays and weekends, and during varying hours of the day or night. We include this information on our reviews.
Rewards, Bonuses, and Promotions
Top casino sites Philippines incentivize their players with bonuses and regular promotions that go a long way in popularizing their products. We compare bonuses offers – deposit, no deposit – and advice accordingly. We also look in their terms and conditions to see playthrough requirements so we can fully understand their viability. As for promotions, we look at games listed to qualify and give you the full breakdown so you know what to expect.
The most popular game on most online casino sites Philippines is poker, closely followed by video poker and then slots as would be expected. These games come in different varieties though they are played the same way, and so we ensure that casinos on our reviews have the widest variety possible. Saying these three are the most popular doesn't dim the light on table games, so gambling websites Philippines with every game found elsewhere in the world get favorable treatment from us.
Best Software Providers
Game developers play an important role when selecting a casino because they determine the kind of games it plays. The best casino sites Philippines endeavor to work with known developers whose games have been tested. We check whether the games are mobile-compatible and can be played on both instant-play mode and downloads. We also check a game's features depending on its software since developers install those during inception. The software provider has to be licensed and games audited for fairness for their games to be any good to players at online casino site Philippines.
Any site identifying itself as the best casino site Philippines has to first place this factor before offering its services. The information that users share with it should be protected with the latest SSL encryption technology so it is not used for any other reason that the intended. If possible, the casino should display on its homepage an eCOGRA certificate to show that user information is safe. The best Filipino casino sites have adopted Random Number Generators that produce fair results after an online spin, but these numbers should be tested and checked regularly for fairness.
Online Gambling Legal Situation in Philippines
There are two regions as far as gambling in the Philippines goes. First on this list is the state-owned Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) that regulates and licenses land-based gambling joints in the country. Players are welcome to visit any of the numerous joints operated under the eye of this body, where they can bet offline and even online for selected games.
The other side of online casino in the Philippines is controlled by Cagayan Special Economic Zone and Freeport that residents refer to as Cagayan Freeport that is indirectly under the control of PAGCOR. There is one catch when playing in this zone; it is only authorized to offer gambling services to tourists. In the larger scheme of things, online gambling in the Philippines leaves several loopholes for online casinos in the Philippines to operate within the law.
Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR)
PAGCOR, established in 1977, is the state-owned body that regulates land-based gambling in the Philippines. All betting outlets have to be licensed by this body to operate in the country. It also manages thirteen land-based casinos, eight VIP slots machines clubs, and three arcade fruit machines. This body is the most flexible in all of Asia. PAGCOR licenses both local gaming companies and offshore casino entities, hoping to set base in the country. The body disallows Jueteng, Masiao, and formed as a combination of these two from being played in the country.
Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators (POGOs)
In 2016, PAGCOR started licensing online casino in the Philippines whose products are developed overseas. This allows residents to place wagers in these casinos as long as they are regulated in their countries of origin. The law regulating local gambling states that residents can only enjoy online gambling if the services are provided by a casino licensed by a legitimate offshore jurisdiction, but not PAGCOR or Cagayan Freeport. Tourists are free to indulge in games developed by a Filipino online gambling site regulated by both PAGCOR and Cagayan Freeport or either. In short, online gambling Philippines is ultimately legal due to these loopholes.
Cagayan Special Economic Zone and Freeport (Cagayan Freeport)
Cagayan Freeport is under the Cagayan Economic Zone Authority (CEZA), yet another government-controlled body. It licenses land-based casinos not under government control to offer their services to tourists in the country. These casinos can also apply for licensing for online services to the same category of users. They are, thus, disallowed to offer services to residents of the country. This body was first established in 1995 and is the sole entity of its kind in Asia that issues legit online casino Philippines licenses for online gaming, sports betting, and lottery. The recent formation of POGO changed this status a little.
Online Gambling in the Philippines
The question "is an online casino Philippines legal?" arises regularly. It has been established clearly that it is not against the law to gamble in the country, given the loopholes in the legislation. Since the establishment of PAGCOR, Filipino online casinos became clearly defined. The government controls all the land-based gambling action through this body, and in so doing ensures the safety of this practice. All betting outlets in the country are also under this body's watchful eye and control.
Annually, the country makes o average 1.38 billion pesos from gambling, and that was before the introduction of online gambling through the other two bodies; Cagayan Freeport and POGOs. This income is expected to rise significantly since the country's youth have a hunger for these games. Cagayan Freeport licenses land-based and online casinos in the country that offer their services to tourists. POGOs are offshore online casinos licensed in their respective jurisdictions allowed to offer online gaming services to Filipino residents.
As for software provision, PhilWeb partners with PAGCOR to provide this solution for casinos within the Philippines and others in Asia. All popular online games are allowed in the country except these three; Jueteng and Masiao, and Last Two, a combination of the other two. Slots are the most popular in the country, with over 250 slot machines placed strategically for players.
The three bodies mandated with casino regulation in the country are strict on operations. For starters, the best casinos in the Philippines must have enough capital to pay all obligations to players should anything happen, and they are also mandated to pay winnings promptly. This method of ensuring prompt casino payment Philippines makes gambling in the country safe, scam-free, and better-organized than in most places in the world.
PAGCOR collects handsomely on behalf of the government, making gabbling quite lucrative in the country and explaining why the authorities are keen on organized betting. Betting incomes of PhP 10,000 and below are charged 20% in taxation to the government while other similar or smaller amounts, 5-32% as per income tax brackets depending on the nature of tax payer. This payment is in the form of Withholding tax, and it is final. The amounts charged income tax are those won by individual punters with the legit online casino in Philippines acting as withholding agents on behalf of the government.
Payment Methods for Filipino Players
Top online casinos Philippines provide a wide range of options for deposits and withdrawals for users interested in playing for real money. The most common options for payments are; conventional bank transfers and cards such as MasterCard, eWallets - PayPal, Sofort, Skrill, Neteller, and ecoPayz.
Here's a breakdown into the mist common payment options:
- Credit cards and debit cards
- Prepaid cards
- Wire transfer
- Money orders
The most commonly used cards are Visa, MasterCard (Maestro), and American Express due to their convenience and general acceptability. Withdrawal and deposit limits will differ from one casino to the next, and there is usually a small fee attached to these transactions.
If you are keen on the recent peer-to-peer digital wallet service from mobile/PC to your casino account, e-Wallets are the way to go. They are convenient since you can transact from a mobile device instantly, safe, and cheap since transfer costs are a small percentage of the total amount of a transaction. Some of the commonly used e-Wallets in the Philippines are Skrill, PayPal, Neteller, and Sofort. Prepaid cards are also just as convenient.
Digital currencies are gaining momentum in the world, and online gambling sites Philippines have caught up. Bitcoin remains the most popular and easily accepted thanks to its ease of transfer, security, and zero transfer charges.
Other options casinos adopt are; wire transfers and prepaid cards. Money orders have slowly lost their luster after more tech-advanced methods cropped up, but some casinos still accept them.
Online Casino Sites Accepting Philipinnes Pesos (PHP)
Even though the Philippines is an important market, not all online sites offer payment options in pesos. They are developed without the multi-currency option that goes beyond common currencies, namely; USD, EUR, and BP. For these sites, layers have to incur the cost associated with currency conversion. The few sites that have pesos as one of their currencies make it so much easier for players. Here's a visual of how the Peso is doing against major currencies.
Live Casino Games
Technology has taken international and PH online casino gambling from brick-and-mortar settings to live gaming in the comfort of your house. One of the things that made traditional table games enticing was interaction with fellow gamblers and dealers. Since online gambling eliminated the need for leaving the house to gamble at a casino, live gaming brought back the fun.
Using powerful computers and HD cameras, casinos can now bring action from studios to your house regardless of physical distance. You will log into your account, select a table, and get ready to play against your fellow gamblers. The Dealer acknowledges all players and sets the pace for the game. All players are asked to place their bets, and the dealer lets you know you can open chats amongst yourselves using a live chat option. The Dealer's live dealings are translated into data through software - Optical Character Recognition (OCR) – that gives a brick-and-mortar casino feel.
Only table games get this kind of treatment since their players love that old-school gambling feeling. Background music will be just right, and there is the usual buzz you get from a casino since the action is live. Usually, winners at online gambling site Philippines are determined by the RNG technology, but for live gaming, it is done by human dealers. Naturally, only those who wager real money can play live games at casinos. Some of the games you can look forward to playing live include;
- Live Roulette
- Live Blackjack
- Live Casino Hold'em
- Live Baccarat
- Live Three Card Poker
- Live Caribbean Stud Poker
- Live Stars Texas Hold'em
Mobile Gaming in the Philippines
Last year, the Philippines had over 43 million gamers who contribute handsomely to the total collected tax. Though they range in age from 21 to 50, 74% of them do it from their mobile devices. It makes sense to choose this mode of gambling since most people are on their phones most of the time, and smaller gadgets are portable.
Developers working with Filipino casinos develop games in HTML5 to allow the compression of games without compromising quality. You get the same graphics, sound effects, and game quality from mobile as you would PCs since they are designed to fit these spaces ideally.
For mobile gaming, players can opt for downloadable games to play when offline or instant-play games require a good internet connection. These games are designed to fit any screen, whether an iPad/tablet or a regular smartphone. Not all games are available for mobile gaming, but most slots and table games are. These games are available on devices powered by Android and iOS.
Online Casino Games for Filipinos
There is no limit to the variety of games an online casino can line up for its players. Since slots and poker are two of the most popular games in The Philippines, casinos have them alongside Roulette, Blackjack, Baccarat, Pai Gow, Sic Bo, Red Tiger, and Live casino games.
Most Filipino players seem to prefer slots over other casino games. Firstly, they are easy to play even for newbie gamblers, and secondly, they are available in different exciting variations. Three reel and five reel titles are the most popular. They come in different themes such as Fruit machines, Ancient Egypt, Mythology slots, Horror themes, Oriental themes, Movie slots with celebrities, Music, Adventure, Alien, and Irish themes.
Slots are available on free (practice) mode as well as wagering for real money. Being a game of chance, players don't need too much skill when playing these games that involve finding the right combination of symbols. Their returns are way lower than those of table games because the concentration and skill-level required is equally minimal.
There are three main variations of roulette; French, European, and American. European roulette, the most popular of the three, has 37 pockets with one zero and a 2.70% house edge, which is the lowest. American roulette comes second with its 38 pockets and double zeros. It has a higher house edge at 5.26%. The third option that is the least favorite among players globally is French roulette with a single-zero wheel similar to that of European roulette, but with a much higher house advantage. Roulette is developed by most game developers – Microgaming, NetEnt, and Playtech – and it is one of the most played table games in the world.
Blackjack is the one game with the most online variations of all table games. These are some of the options online players at casino Philippines have.
- Atlantic City Blackjack
- Super Fun 21
- Single Deck Blackjack
- Multi-Hand Blackjack
- Spanish 21
- Double Exposure Blackjack
- Blackjack Switch
- European Blackjack
- Perfect Pairs Blackjack
When playing this game, the plan is to come as close to – or hit – 21 without surpassing it. Players get two cards, with one face down, while the Dealer gets the same number of cards. Ace is the most valuable card in Blackjack. These variations above have different house edges. Blackjack is a game of skill as much as there is a level of chance involved.
The goal in this game is to hit a perfect nine, and players do that by drawing the first two cards with values that bring them close to this number. The third card will either take you further from nine – a burst – or closer, in which case you win.
There are four main baccarat variations; Mini baccarat, Punto bunco, Chemin de Fer, and Baccarat Banque. Mini baccarat, mainly played in America, accommodates seven players instead of eight since it is indeed a mini version. Punto bunco is more Italian than any other, while Chemin de Fer is mostly played in Argentina. In Baccarat Banque, only one player gets to play Dealer the entire game, unlike other variations.
Top PH Online Casino Games 2021
It is not just casino sites in the Philippines that entice players with bonuses to keep them coming back and playing more regularly. Bonuses and promotions are given in different forms to new and existing players. There are welcome packages that target new players, while free spins are for both new and continuing players.
Here is more on bonuses and promotions.
As the name suggests, this bonus is reserved for players registering an account with a casino for the first time. When you sign up, you are assigned a bonus code that then ushers you into the world of freebies. Most casinos dictate the type of games you can use for this bonus, and there is also a time limit. It is mostly tied to a deposit, making the bonus a percentage of the first or a number of subsequent deposits. Further, there are requirements to be met before this bonus, and associated winnings are withdrawn, and all this information is available in the casino's terms and conditions.
No Deposit Bonus
This deposit is quite rare since, as the name suggests, players do not have to make any deposits to get it. All you do is register an account and use the bonus code, where applicable, shared. You will then receive a credit in your account that you can only use on predetermined games.
These bonuses have stricter playthrough requirements than deposit bonuses as most casinos will demand you play 20 to 50 times of the bonus before finally withdrawing it. Casinos put time limits to these bonuses so you know you only have a set number of days to exhaust them.
Slots require players to spin to play, and so free spins qualify as one of a casino's well-loved bonuses. They are usually restricted to slots, and most times, time-barred. There are wagering requirements for punters to meet before they can withdraw winnings from these spins. This form of bonus is for both new and regular players and is the go-to reward when a casino is testing new slot games. They are mostly tied to game developers as they are part of a game. Most casinos and game developers are quite generous with free spins.
When you register an account at a Filipino casino site, your name is entered into a loyalty program, but you have to become a frequent spender to qualify for unique treatment. High-rollers (players that spend a lot of money) are rewarded with tickets to grand Prix, safaris, and raffles for luxurious presents that lower spenders are not privy to. They also get to try new games first and are given bonuses unique to only them. Sometimes, casinos give these players a cashback option for between 25 and 30% of their bets.
Online Casinos vs. Offline Casinos - 2021
Before online casinos became a hit, all everyone knew was land-based gambling. Old-school gamblers had their doubts about this new concept of gambling – and they probably still do – but time has shown this may the only form that will be left standing in a few years.
Online and land-based casinos have their unique features as well as differences that make each stand out.
We compare them using the following parameters:
- Game variety and selection
- Jackpots and bonuses
|Online Casinos||Land-based Casinos|
|Several bonuses are offered to new and existing players.||Not as many bonuses here, but players get to experience the buzz and atmosphere of a real casino.|
|Several jackpots that amount to bigger winnings than those at land-based casinos.||The jackpots are smaller than those players get at the best online casino in the Philippines.|
|Players have wider game varieties at online casinos than those that land-based casinos have.||Game developers are focusing more on online game development, so the game variation is relatively small.|
|Convenient since players can play online from computers of phones.||Players have to physically present themselves at the casinos, which is quite inconvenient.|
|Slower payouts since players have to rely on systems.||Fast payout since everything is done under one roof as the player waits.|
|You would have to register an account with an online casino then deposit cash before playing for real money.||Just walk into a casino and play.|
Land-based Casinos in the Philippines
The Philippines has been open to organized gambling since the 19th century, and several casino resorts exist to prove this. There are over twenty luxury establishments in Metro Manila alone. Top names in the industry include:
- Solaire Resort & Casino
- Casino Filipino Heritage
- Casino Filipino Mimosa
- The Hyatt Regency Hotel & Casino
- Casino Filipino Angeles
- D'Heights Resort and Casino
- Winford Hotel Manila
- Fiesta Resort Casino Poro Point
- Okada Manila Casino
- Waterfront Cebu City Hotel and Casino
- Olongapo Casino Filipino
- Casino Filipino Paranaque
- Casino Filipino Tagaytay
These resorts have several tables for table games and hundreds of slot machines. Since they are located in top Filipino cities that attract thousands of tourists each year, these casinos offer nothing but luxury and opulence. Since the law is clear on land-based gambling, these casinos receive their fair share of business from local and international gamblers. In 2018, about $687 million of the country's gambling revenue came from land-based casinos. Since they serve as both resorts and casinos, they pull large numbers of facility users, and over weekends patrons flock these places for betting and other forms of entertainment.
Responsible Gambling in the Philippines
Even though gambling has been legal in the Philippines for long, the government saw the folly in legalizing online gambling without an oversight body. The formation of PAGCOR was to regulate the industry so the government could mitigate the addiction associated with gambling.
PAGCOR introduced a program that does the following:
- Trains gaming employees so they can tell signs of addiction in users and act accordingly
- Limits access to a group when it foresees addition
- Prohibits types of games of gambling that have adverse effects on society
- Runs adverts warning of the dangers of uncontrolled gambling
Through regulation and licensing, PAGCOR sees trends of gambling and acts on them before they become distractive. It also ensures only casinos with the right certifications work in the country. This control has seen to it that the 43 million gamers in The Philippines play within their control limits to avoid unnecessary addiction. Players can also seek free help on the Philippines - Gamblers Anonymous.
History of Gambling in the Philippines
There are no clear records of when gambling started in the Philippines, but the 19th century gets a fair share of mentions. During the Spanish colonial period, residents sent their money and time on horse-race betting and lotteries, two activities that have kept up to date. At some point, Cockfighting became a popular sport and betting option that is said to have led to the growth of other gambling activities. The government of the day banned it got out of control.
The National Charity Sweepstakes was in charge of lotteries but was later disbanded in favor of the state-owned Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation. This body oversees all gambling licensing and is the first of its kind in Asia to license land-based casinos and regulate gaming. While online gambling is not restricted in the Philippines, no Filipino online casino site is authorized to offer these services to locals. They can, however, play through Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators, comprised of online casinos formed internationally. Currently, Cock-fighting, Sweepstakes, Lotteries, Horse race betting, Casino games, and Street games are legally overseen by PAGCOR.
Future of Online Gambling in the Philippines
Every Philippine casino online operating under the Cagayan Freeport license offers its gambling services to tourists and not the country's residents. POGOs, on the other hand, are free to provide gaming services to residents as long as they meet requirements – they should be licensed and regulated by authorities outside the Philippines. This means online gambling is legal in the country under these set conditions.
Under PAGCOR, the government oversees gambling to prevent online gaming from leading to addiction, and this is expected to continue. Since gambling incomes are rising to levels too significant to ignore, it is unlikely that the government will ban online gambling, but it is also unlikely to get its foot off the gas. We expect Filipino residents to continue enjoying their slots and online poker into the foreseeable future under the watchful eye of PAGCOR.
1) Is Online Gambling Legal in the Philippines?
No. Online gambling is illegal in the Philippines for local companies offering this service. On the other hand, international casinos with no ties with the country can provide these services as long as they comply with government regulations.
2) What is the easiest gambling game to learn and win money?
The best Filipino casino sites offer slots as the easiest game to play alongside poker. They are both games of chance so that players don't need prior knowledge or special skills.
3) Can I play in Philippine pesos?
Yes. Some of the best Filipino casino site options have multi-currency customization that allows players to use pesos to deposit and withdraw winnings
4) How do I make deposits and cashouts at online casinos from the Philippines?
Using any of the casino's selected payment options. Most Filipino online casino sites have banks, credit/debit cards, and eWallets listed as preferred payment methods with varying deposit and withdrawal limits.
5) Do I have to play for real money?
Not all the time. Most developers design their games for free practice playing and real money when you are confident enough to wager.
6) Where can I find the best Filipino online casinos?
Our team of experts has played at most of the best online casinos Philippines and written detailed reviews that you may find useful. Read these reviews here on our site then decide which fits you best.
7) Do Philippine Online Casinos Offer Bonuses?
Yes, they do. They have deposit bonuses where first-time users of accounts are awarded a percentage of their deposits. There are usually other promotions too.
8) What is the legal gambling age for Filipinos?
21 is the legal gambling age for Filipino players.