On February 2nd, 2017, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte signed Executive Order No. 13 (E.O. 13) into Philippine law. E.O. 13 directs several government agencies to intensify the fight against illegal gambling activities across the Philippines. Illegal gambling has been a widespread problem in the Philippines for many years now and the President wants to secure more revenue from legal gambling operations, so this order is in response to that agenda. E.O. 13 has no effect on legal offshore casino gambling, poker gambling or legal offshore sportsbook gambling which Philippine residents are still permitted to enjoy.
E.O. No. 13 Agenda
The new order defines illegal gambling as any game scheme which does not have a license or proper authorization from the government to operate in the Philippines. The order mandates that several government agencies or corporations must report to the Office of the President their efforts to combat illegal gambling activities every 6 months. The government agencies set to combat illegal gambling activities across the islands are: Cagayan Economic Zone Authority (CEZA), Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR), Authority of Freeport Area of Bataan (AFAB), and the Aurora Pacific Economic Zone and Free Authority (APECO). These agencies along with the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) are now under strict supervision to fight this ongoing dilemma.
The new order also defines jurisdictions and authorities of the government regulatory agencies. It states that gambling regulators are to act within the bounds of their respected mandates and to strengthen the efforts to monitor and collect revenue from legitimate gambling activities. The Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) has territorial jurisdiction over the Philippines except for the areas that have a regulatory appointed under existing laws. The Cagayan Special Economic Zone (CEZA) has authority over the Cagayan Valley and Free Port and is authorized to regulate and license games of chance and gambling casinos.
The Aurora Pacific Economic Zone and Freeport (APECO) has the authority to license either directly or through a subsidiary entity, games and amusements, casinos and online games. The Authority of the Freeport Area of Bataan (AFAB), can license and operate amusement games and land based or online casinos on its own, either through a license or directly. The AFAB is subject to supervision and approval from PAGCOR.
The President has control of all executive departments and will ensure laws are executed. This order states that confusion over jurisdiction or authority leads to the proliferation of illegal gambling. Clarifying the extent of authority over online gambling will help detect unauthorized gambling activities and ensure that regulating agencies act within the boundaries of their respected mandates.
The Effects Of E.O. No. 13 On Online Gambling
Executive Order No. 13 only effects domestic online operators and states that no duly licensed gambling operator will provide services to anyone located physically within the Philippines. Domestic gambling operators are currently allowed to offer their services without restrictions to anybody physically located outside the Philippines. Licenses may not be transferred, shared, leased, assigned or sold to anyone. Any license holder trying to operate outside the jurisdiction of their licensing agreement can apply for a separate license with the appropriate authority. Therefore, a gambling operator can be licensed in more than one zone but the restrictions for both will apply. Only online gambling operations based or licensed in the Philippines will be subject to Executive Order No. 13. This Philippine gambling laws have no bearing on Philippine legal online sports betting, Philippine legal horse race betting, poker rooms or casinos that operate offshore and that accept residents of the Philippines.
How E.O. No. 13 Affects Sports Betting In The Philippines
Legal gambling activities along with licensed domestic and online sportsbooks will reap the rewards of this order. For many years there has been illegal bookies willing to take sports bets and while it has been illegal for some time this order will now put action into the implementation of those laws. Licensed domestic land-based sportsbook and online operator MegaSportsWorld (MSW) will still operate the same and should expect to see more business if the law can catch or scare local illegal bookies out of taking bets in fear of getting prosecuted. MSW has multiple locations across the Philippines and is the only domestic sportsbook in the Philippines except for the Solaire sportsbook which is only available at the Solaire Casino Resort property.
Philippine legal mobile sportsbooks should see some boost too, if people can’t place their bets with their bookies they are likely to turn to legally sanctioned options. As of now mobile and online sportsbooks are only available to residents of the Philippines through legally licensed and regulated operations not based in the Philippines. There are several online sports betting sites that are licensed in the Philippines, but those sites are not allowed to offer their services to Filipino residents. The government is looking for more revenue from these sources so cracking down on the illegal operations should in turn increase revenue from legal ventures.
Execution Of Order No. 13
The order states that the amount of money needed to carry out this Act will be taken from what is available in the CY 2017 General Appropriations Act. The funding may be subject to budgetary rules and regulations. In that case, the budget to carry out the enactments of this order shall be incorporated into the regular budget of the concerned agencies. The order finishes up by stating that any rules and regulation inconsistent with this order are hereby revoked, amended or modified accordingly and if any of the provisions are deemed invalid or unconstitutional then the rest of the provisions shall remain unaffected.
The specific language of the law can be found on the Official Journal Of The Republic Of The Philippines Website: Executive Order No. 13