Is online gambling legal in Philippines?

Guide to Online Gambling in the Philippines

Laws pertaining to gambling in the Philippines can seem somewhat hard to comprehend and counterintuitive at first glance. there are two regulatory bodies that control, License and oversee gambling operations in the country:

  • The Philippines Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) and
  • The Cagayan Economic Zone Authority (CEZA)

PAGCOR oversees and licenses all land based gambling venues, such as bingo parlors,betting shops, poker clubs and the Philippines casino industry. They issue licenses to all brick and mortar gambling operations, including they call eGames*. But this actually land base facilities that offer casino and bingo games on connected terminals. These are not online casinos.

The Cagayan Special Economic Zone and Freeport, also known as Cagayan Freeport, is a special economic zone in Cagayan, Northern Luzon. It was established by the republic Act No. 7922, otherwise known as the Cagayan Economic Zone Act of 1995. CEZA , the economic authority of the Cagayan Economic Zone Licenses online gambling in the Philippines. it is actually one of the most reputable and popular gaming jurisdiction in the world, because even though CEZA licensed sites cannot offer their service to Filipinos, a CEZA gaming license allows an operators to tap into lucrative and growing Asian online gambling market.

Foreign, offshore online gambling sites are free to offer their services for players from the Philippines.

The legality of such sites was debated, but a Court of appeal decision in 2012 resolved the matter: they stated that an activity, which is not illegal expressly, cannot be penalised. And as there was no law in force specifically banning online gambling in the Philippines then ( and there isn’t one now ) playing in foreign platform is technically legal.

The bottom line is, from strictly a player’s perspective is that Filipinos are free to gamble on any foreign online gambling platforms that accept their registrations.

*Source: PAGCOR -Electronic Gaming And Poker

** Source: Philippines- CEZA Gaming License-

***Source: Philippines Court Of Appeal Concludes Online Gambling Not Punishable by Law

Do I Break the Law When Placing Bets on Offshore Gambling Websites or Use an Overseas Account?​​

The operator or website must be authorized where you are gambling

The gambling or operator must be specifically licensed by the state, If it’s not, then gambling with them is illegal and it’s not just illegal for them to offer it to you, it’s illegal for you place the bet.

 U.S. and state relationships with foreign governments

Overseas betting sites or sports book are not bound by U.S. or state laws. Neither the states nor the federal government have any say over what other countries allow or legalize. Equally, the United Kingdom, or the Philippines, or Malta, or Antigua (or any other gambling Mecca), can’t control our gambling laws or policy. They are free to legalize whatever types of gambling they want and regulate the business of gambling within their borders, but they can’t let U.S. citizens gamble on their gambling sites from the United States. While they can make it legal for their licensed gambling operators or providers to accept bets from outside their territory–i.e., from overseas–so that the provider does not get in trouble for accepting your bet, you can still get in trouble here for placing it.

It would be legal to bet using an offshore account or sports book, only IF you physically place the bet in a state where it is legal (most states do not allow it) and with a website or sports book licensed by the state in which you are located. The odds, however, of it actually being legal to place an overseas bet, including using an overseas account, are very slight. It is unlikely that the type of gambling (e.g., sports wagers), the ability to bet online, and the specific overseas provider are all authorized by your state.

 What Types of Gambling Are Legal?

When it comes to what gambling activities are legal and the extent and scope of the legal gambling activity, state gambling regulators rule! Gambling operations – licensing, regulation, and enforcement–are overseen at the state level. While there some federal laws, like the Wire Act or the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) which affect gambling, the vast majority of gambling regulation in the United States is conducted by the states.

The line between what kinds of gambling activity are legal or illegal varies widely from state to state, as does the forms of gambling permitted within the state’s local jurisdictions. (An overview of the forms of gambling by state can be found here.) What one state legalizes, another specifically prohibits (or restricts). For example: some states ban online gambling and sports betting entirely, while others permit some forms of betting and waging.