Philippines Gambling Laws

The nation is divided into two distinct geographical regions for gambling purposes.  Philippine Sports Betting Laws are regulated by The Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation which controls most of the country except for the Cagayan-Freeport area, controlled by the First Cagayan Resort and Leisure Corporation. The Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) and First Cagayan Resort and Leisure corporation oversees all gambling activity in the country. These agencies were put into place to help combat illegal gambling activities as well as promote a safe experience for players in the area. Here we will discuss the status of legal sports betting in the Philippines and look at all the different agencies that regulate the industry.

Is Sports Betting Legal In The Philippines?

Sports betting is legal and popular in the Philippines although some restrictions do apply. MegaSportsWorld (MSW) is a fully licensed bookmaker that offers a limited form of sports betting, they operate in local betting shops and internet cafes across the country. MSW has over 100 locations that customers can either walk in or phone in bets, but they are prohibited from accepting online bets from Filipino residents at this time.

Is Online Sports Betting Legal in the Philippines?

Yes, in 2012 a court ruling decided there was no verbiage in Filipino law that made it illegal for residents to place online bets. While operating an online sportsbook is expressly prohibited in the territories regulated by PAGCOR. The Cagayan-Freeport region is free to legally operate an online bookmaking business if they do not offer their services to Filipino residents. Residents are free to legally place bets at Philippine legal mobile sportsbooks or at licensed and regulated offshore sportsbooks. Our Philippine online sportsbook reviews page is a great resource for players looking to bet online.

A Look At The Gambling Laws In The Philippines

There are some laws and provisions not listed here, but this is a basic breakdown of the key regulations pertaining to gambling, online gambling, and the development of special economic zones for gambling purposes.

Presidential Decree No.1067-a

Signed by then president Ferdinand Marcos in 1975, this law defines legal gambling in the Philippines and how they intend to use the revenue to build infrastructure and create facilities to promote tourism. Creation and purpose of the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) and the general corporate powers are included. This law specifically states what forms of gambling entertainment are legal and any domestic gambling not listed among the approved venues is assumed to be illegal.

Presidential Decree No. 1602

This order simplified and provided penalties for anyone violating illegal gambling laws in the Philippines. Decree 1602 was the first gambling law for the nation and was signed into law in 1978. This law has since been amended but initially intended to define punishment for violators as imprisonment.

Republic Act 9287

Signed into order to amend certain provisions of Decree No. 1602, this act increased the penalty for illegal number games. It defines the punishable acts for anyone who is caught betting, participating, maintaining or operating an illegal numbers game.

Presidential Decree No. 1869

This order was put into law in 1983 and set up for the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) as guidelines on how to license and regulate games of chance in the Philippines. It lists the corporate powers and operations of PAGCOR as well as any other powers, provisions and exemptions.

Republic Act 7922

Signed into law in 1995, this act established the Cagayan-Freeport economic zone. Defined the principles of operations, creation of the Cagayan Economic Zone Authority (CEZA) and powers and functions of the authority. Also defines supervision of CEZA is under direct control and supervision of the Office of the President.

Executive Order No. 13

The Executive Order No. 13 was put into law to strengthen the fight against illegal gambling. The executive order starts by giving orders to the Filipino Police and Bureau of Investigation to intensify the fight against illegal gambling. Then goes on and defines illegal gambling as any game scheme consisting of money or articles of value that has not been authorized by the appropriate government agency put in place to regulate and enforce laws. Section 3 of this order is the classification of online gambling and where they state it is legal for Filipino residents to participate in regulated offshore sites but illegal for domestic operators to offer online gambling to Filipino residents. Signed into law February 2nd, 2007.

Republic Act 10927

The Republic Act 10927 was established to aid in fighting illegal money laundering schemes. Enacted in 2017, it plugs holes left in the Anti-Money Laundering Act (AMLA – 2001) and puts tougher regulations on gambling operators. The new regulations include casino player records that must be kept on file by a casino for at least 5 years. It also sets regulations to report any transaction over 500k PHP.

Who Regulates Sports Betting In The Philippines?

Sports betting across the nation is regulated by two different agencies. The Games and Amusement Board (GAB) controls most of the events including all combat and play for pay such as basketball, soccer, boxing, and baseball, as well as Sabong (cockfighting). The Philippine Racing Commission (Philracom) controls the horse racing industry with assistance from the GAB. Both agencies regulate bookmakers for the region and fight to combat illegal betting in their respected communities. Other organizations such as the Philippine Sports Commission helps spread sports to Filipino youth and develop athletes for Philippine national teams. While they don’t regulate the sports they do have a say in how the sports are played and the rules they enforce.

Regulatory Agencies And Corporations In The Philippines

Philippine Amusement And Gaming Corporation

(PAGCOR) was created in 1977 and is a 100% government-owned and controlled corporation under the Office of the President of the Republic of the Philippines. Its main purpose is to regulate, operate, authorize and license games of chance, generate revenue for governmental national development programs and promote tourism. It controls the gambling industry throughout the country except for the Cagayan-Freeport region.  For more information visit the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation official website.

First Cagayan Resort And Leisure Corporation

The Cagayan-Freeport area has its own set of laws and regulators for the region and aims to produce a self-sufficient industry and provide employment and income for the community. The First Cagayan Resort and Leisure Corporation’s primary purpose is to operate and control facilities in the Metropolis of Santa Ana and the neighboring islands in the Province of Cagayan. They also set up and control the hub with its internet servers that host web sites, gaming software, collection payment systems and much more. They also monitor all activities that contain to the licensing and operating of interactive games in their economic zone. For more information visit the First Cagayan Resort and Leisure Corporation official website.

Philippine Racing Commission

(PHILRACOM), they aim to maintain efficient and unbiased operations of racing that deals with the sport and gambling. They strive to raise awareness, increase public confidence and minimize infractions of the rules all while improving the breed of Filipino horses and preventing the illegal importation of horses. They direct the industries continued growth to protect the development and the exploitation of revenue and employment associated with horse racing. PHILRACOM official website:  Philippine Racing Commission.  This commission does not have any impact concerning Philippines legal horse race betting that takes place at licensed offshore racebooks.

Games And Amusements Board

Formed in 1951, (GAB) is an organization that regulates and supervises play for pay sports and strives to prevent the formation of illegal bookies and other illegal gambling centered around combat games and amusement games. They focus on professional events such as boxing, wrestling, arnis & karate, along with others such as basketball and Sabong (cockfighting). Their mission is to improve Filipino professional sports through their supervision and regulation and to promote character building qualities and development of self-discipline among athletes. GAB official website:  Games and Amusements Board

Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office

Also known as (PCSO), they organize and regulate sweepstakes and lottery games. In 1995 they launched the first lottery in the Philippines, it was a big success and since they have set up multiple lottery games. They also engage in welfare-related health investments and is the principal government agency for directing how the funds are dispersed. They are committed to continual improvement of online lottery logistics and disburse revenue to set up charity clinics across the region. PCSO official website:  Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office