History Of Illegal Gambling In The Philippines

Casino gambling in the Philippines is governed by two specific jurisdictions within the Islands: the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) and the Cagayan Special Economic Zone.

These two gaming districts handle the licensing and regulation of the various brick and mortar casinos found throughout the nation. Along with land-based casino gambling, PAGCOR also licenses and regulates online gambling businesses.

Despite being licensed by a Filipino district, the online gambling businesses operating out of this region are not permitted to offer their services to Filipino players. They are legally allowed to offer their betting and gambling services to players outside of the Philippines Islands.

Are Online Casinos Legal In The Philippines?

It is not illegal to operate an online casino in the Philippines, however, it is illegal to offer casino gambling services to Filipino players when operating an online casino that is based within the nation’s borders. However, Filipino players still have access to legally sanctioned online casino gambling through licensed and regulated offshore casino destinations online.

If there were any doubt as to this fact, a court case from 2012 resulted in a ruling that verified that the Philippines gambling laws do not prohibit players from participating in placing bets online. This means that Filipino players can legally enjoy online casino gambling at destinations that are licensed, regulated and located outside of the Philippines.

In addition, it is perfectly legal for players to access and bet at mobile sites as long as they are operated by licensed and regulated offshore casino operators. You can learn more about the legalities in different areas in our guide to Philippines legal casino gambling by region.

Philippine Laws on Illegal Gambling February 25, 2017 Since the announcement of Philippine President Rodrigo Roa Duterte for the Philippine National Police to halt its operation on war against drugs and shift the fight against illegal gambling, hundreds of suspected individuals were apprehended allegedly involved with illegal gambling nationwide. Tougher Philippine gambling laws should scare more people away from illegal activities and in turn create more revenue for the casinos and the government. Illegal gambling has always plagued the Philippines, expect to see more tough laws come into play until the government sees a dramatic drop in illegal gambling activities.

What Is The Penalty For Illegal Gambling In The Philippines? According to the Republic Act No. 9287, the penalty for illegal gambling can be anywhere from 30 days to 20 years imprisonment, depending on the offense. 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. Thus, the case that was originally filed in November 2016 and claimed that Valve knowingly allowed, supported, facilitated and/or sponsored illegal gambling on the outcome of CS:GO matches and the. PRESCRIBING STIFFER PENALTIES ON ILLEGAL GAMBLING. WHEREAS, Philippine Gambling Laws such as Articles 195-199 of the Revised Penal Code (Forms of Gambling and Betting), R.A. 3063 (Horse racing Bookies), P.D. 449 (Cockfighting), P.D. 483 (Game Fixing), P.D. 510 (Slot Machines) in relation to Opinion Nos. 33 and 97 of the Ministry of Justice, P.D.

Gambling Laws Explained

Presidential Decree No.1067-a (1975)
PD No. 1067-A created the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) and defines legal gambling in the Philippines. The Decree also defines PAGCOR’s powers and functions and how funding will be provided to the government corporation and how revenue will be collected and used by PAGCOR. Signed into in law in 1975 by then president Ferdinand Marcos.

Presidential Decree No. 1602 (1978)
PD 1602 creates harsher penalties for illegal gambling activities. Section 1 lists activities that are usually associated with legal gambling in the Philippines: Basketball, Boxing, Slots, Poker, Soccer, Football, Volleyball, Horse racing, Pinball and about every other sport you can think of. It states that the punishment for wagering on those games without proper licensing shall be punished by prison and a fine up to 6 thousand pesos (PHP). Section 2 gives an informants reward of 20%.

Presidential Decree No. 1869 (1983)
PD 1869 is the charter of the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) of how to properly regulate the gambling industry. It gives guidelines for PAGCOR to follow to authorize, license, and regulate all games of chance within the Philippines while laying out the legal framework for corporations to obtaining licenses.

Republic Act 7922 (1994)
The Republic Act 7922 established a special economic zone in the Cagayan Valley to be known as the Cagayan Economic Zone while including neighboring islands and the city of Freeport. Section 4 of the act ­­­lays out governmental principals while section 5 creates the Cagayan Economic Zone Authority (CEZA). The rest of the act contains legal information about CEZA compensation, supervision, auditing and legal counsels.

Republic Act 9287 (2004)
The Republic Act 9287 was written into law on April 2nd, 2004 and was enacted by the Senate and the House of Representatives of the Philippine Congress. The Act increases the penalty for illegal numbers games and its implementing rules.

Executive Order No. 13 (2017)
The second section (2) of Executive Order No. 13 order clearly defines illegal gambling as any activity not authorized by an operator’s licensing authority.Transcribed to combat illegal number game operators in an effort to endorse state-run lottery services. Section 3 reinforces the policy of not allowing Filipino players access to Philippine licensed online casinos and sportsbooks. Outside players are targeted by Filipino online casinos while Philippine players are still allowed to play offshore legally sanctioned online casinos and sportsbooks.

Republic Act 10927 (2017)
Implemented by the Philippine Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC) on November 4th, 2017 the Republic Act 10927 entails special requirements for all Philippine-based casinos to follow. The law requires for casino owners to implement risk management policies and to keep records for their players for at least 5 years.

Casino owners are now ordered to allow compliance checks when the AMLC suspects a case of money laundering or terrorist financing. This new act also affects players. Players are now required to give more detailed information about themselves before setting up an account and no more aliases will be accepted.

The AMLC will also now be notified whenever there is a bet or a transaction of $100,000 USD or more. Failure to abide by this new act will result in stiff fines and/or penalties and could lead to a revoke of operating licenses.

House Bill 8910
HB-8910 is a proposed bill that would eliminate e-sabong nationwide if accepted into law. It specifically targets online cockfight betting and seeks to strengthen the Games and Amusement Board's oversight of all professional sports.

Where Can I Find Legally Licensed Online Casinos Accepting Filipino Players?

You could easily do a simple Google search to find a list of online casinos that welcome players from the Philippines. Please allow us to caution you from this course of action. Just because an online casino accepts Filipino players does not make it a legally sanctioned online casino or a high-quality destination that operates according to industry standards and licensing requirements.


One of the objectives for creating this resource guide was to assist players in finding the leading Filipino online casinos operating legally within the industry as well as helping players avoid questionable, predatory or low-quality destinations.

This guide provides a listing of recommended Philippines friendly online casinos. The list was comprised following an intense review process that closely examined online casinos that accept players from the Philippines. We carefully evaluated their legal standing within the industry, the existence and validity of their compliance certifications, the quality of their software solutions, services and security profile, and their reputation within the industry.

We literally review hundreds of components of each brand, effectively eliminating undesirable locations while revealing the top brands worth visiting. You can find a list of legal online casinos that accept players in the Philippines here.

Why Can’t I Participate At Online Casinos Located In the Philippines?

The gambling laws in the Philippines are quite strict when it comes to operating an online casino within the nation’s borders. While these businesses are free to offer casino gambling to players anywhere outside of the Philippines, the law clearly specifies that it is illegal for locally licensed internet gambling sites to offer their services to Filipino citizens.

Thankfully, the law does not simultaneously make it a crime for Filipino players to place bets online, hence players are free to engage in legal online casino gambling from offshore gambling sites. With the gambling industry in the Philippines currently flourishing, it is not outside the realm of possibilities that the laws may evolve to expand the online gambling opportunities within the island region, however, there have not been any moves in this direction thus far.

What Is The Minimum Gambling Age In The Philippines?

The gambling laws in the Philippines have established that gamblers must be at least 21 years of age in order to participate in casino gambling. This law is taken seriously by the Filipino government in an effort to eliminate the risks of underage gambling.

History Of Illegal Gambling In The Philippines Immigration

Violators will face legal consequences. While the laws in the Philippines generously allow offshore online gambling, the legal minimum gambling age still applies to this type of gambling entertainment. That means that if an online casino or poker site allows players to register at age eighteen, Filipino players must still wait until they are twenty-one years old to place bets at these sites. These restrictions established within the nation’s laws trump the policies of gambling websites.

Are There Any Other Forms Of Legal Online Gambling Available For Philippines Residents?

Yes, there is. Legally sanctioned offshore gambling sites that are available to Filipino players include legal Philippines online poker sites and legal Philippines online sports betting sites. The same rules apply to offshore poker sites and sportsbooks, so as long as the gambling sites are not operated within the Philippines, then there is nothing illegal about enjoying real money gambling at these destinations.

History Of Illegal Gambling In The Philippines Government

The Republic Act (RA) 9287 is an amendment act to Presidential Decree (PD) 1602 which imposes penalties for individuals taking part in illegal gambling activities. RA 9287 increases penalties set in PD 1602 and establishes the Anti-Illegal Gambling Board (AGB). This act also defines what illegal gambling is and states the kind of games and illegal activities that the AGB will be combating. RA 9287 will also list the functions and powers of the AGB and give them authority and responsibility for implementing the new revisions and laws of this act.

Illegal Number Games

Illegal numbers games are defined in this amendment as all forms of illegal gambling such as but not limited to Cockfighting, Jueteng, Masio, Last Two, Jai Alai, and Horse Racing that includes bookie operations and game fixing, Numbers, Bingo, non-government issued Lotteries and any other games of chance. It also states that any game of chance or game of skill that is not in compliance and licensed by their respected regulatory agencies are considered illegal.

Poker, Casino, And Sports Betting – Legal VS Illegal

Most forms of gambling are legal in the Philippines with the exception of unregulated and unlicensed games of chance or skill. However, there are some people who illegally bet on forms of gambling entertainment that are actually not prohibited by law, such as horse racing for example. If you place your bet at a wagering terminal, race track cashier or Philippines legal horse betting site, everything is legal, however, a number of people still choose to bet with illegal bookies for various reasons. RA 9287 strengthens PD 1602 to cover any missed terminology and to impose stricter penalties for parties who choose to participate in un-licensed games of chance or skill.



Poker is legal and often played in the brick-and-mortar casinos located across the Philippines. Filipinos are also allowed to legally play online from offshore licensed and regulated poker rooms. The only exception is Philippine players are not allowed to play domestic sites based in the Philippines by law. Players don’t have to worry about this issue for the most part as it solely falls on the operators to not accept players from the Philippines. Our guide on Philippine legal online poker sites is a great place to start when looking for the best online sites that accept Filipino players.

Casino Gambling

Casino gambling is legal in various forms throughout the Philippines. There are domestic casinos, casinos that come in on ships, and Philippine legal online casinos all available to Filipino residents. Most of the domestic casinos are in or near the capital of Manila City but you will also run across some in other areas of the country. Heavily regulated by gaming commissions casinos are a significant source of income for the Philippines. Not only does the licenses create revenue but the casinos also help attract tourism. Philippine legal online gambling is available through offshore licensed and regulated websites. Online casinos based or licensed in the Philippines are not allowed to offer their online service to residents of the Philippines. Filipino players are only allowed to play online casino sites from overseas who are licensed and regulated by their gaming commissions.

Sports Betting

Betting on sports is popular across the world and in the Philippines. The domestic sportsbook MegaSportsWorld has locations all over the country that allow residents to bet on international sporting competitions. Filipino players are also allowed to bet online with offshore licensed and regulated sportsbooks. The only catch is that sportsbooks located within the borders of the Philippines are not allowed to accept bets online from Filipino’s. RA 9287 will toughen the penalties for illegal sportsbooks and other illegal gambling activities to make legal options more favorable and profitable. Philippine legal online sports betting is available to players over the age of 21, our guide will help you determine the best site that will accept Filipino registrations.

Anti-Illegal Gambling Board

In section 3 of the amendment, the Anti-Illegal Gambling Board (AGB) is established. The board is to carry out the policies and counter the proliferation of illegal gambling. The personal requirement of the AGB will be complemented by the Games and Amusement Board (GAB). The Anti-Illegal Gambling Board will be comprised of 6 members, one of which will be the chairman of the AGB. The board members will be the chairman or their representatives for the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes, Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR), Philippine Racing Commission (PHRACOM), Secretary of the Department of Justice, and the chief of the Philippine National Police (PNP).

Powers And Functions Of The Anti-Illegal Gambling Board

History Of Illegal Gambling In The Philippines Pesos

Republic Act 9287 established the Anti-Illegal Gambling Board and defined its powers and functions. The board is to act as a central authority responsible for carrying out and apprehending violators of this act. They are also given the power to call upon law enforcement officials to assist in the enforcement of this act. They are also allowed to deputize governors, city mayors, law enforcement agencies, to conduct investigations into illegal number game operations and participants. They are also to function as a complainant if the criminal prosecution of violators. The act also gives them the power to come up with a holistic program and approach to eliminate the existence of illegal gambling within the city walls.

History Of Illegal Gambling In The Philippines Today

What It All Means

RA 9287 was enacted to strengthen the laws declared in PD 1602. Not only does it re-define what games are often considered illegal, but it toughens the penalties for anyone operating or participating in illegal gambling activities. The Philippines are serious about their gambling revenue and they should be, the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) is the third leading source of revenue for the country. The President is known to be against gambling and won’t let government officials play or be seen in a casino, but he also knows how important the revenue is for funding school buildings, infrastructure, and other community needs. Tougher Philippine gambling laws should scare more people away from illegal activities and in turn create more revenue for the casinos and the government. Illegal gambling has always plagued the Philippines, expect to see more tough laws come into play until the government sees a dramatic drop in illegal gambling activities.