Republic Act 10927 (R.A. 10927) is an amendment to the Anti-Money Laundering Act (AMLA) of 2001. The amendment designates casinos as a covered person and adds more definitions into the original AMLA. It also amends the freezing of monetary property section of the original AMLA act. The act was implemented on November 4th, 2017. This act plugs holes left in the AMLA act and mandates tougher regulations on gambling operators. Currently, Filipinos are not allowed to play online casinos or online sportsbooks located or licensed in the Philippines but can legally play licensed offshore sportsbooks and casinos from other countries. The regulations outlined in this legislation does not apply to licensed offshore operations or their players.
Does R. A. 10927 Affect Sports Betting In The Philippines?
No, it only affects gambling operations where the bet exceeds 5 million pesos and the money stems from illegal sources. The average bettor will never have to worry about Republic Act 10927, only the high rollers who bet over 5 million pesos might ever have to deal with this act. Even if your bet does get flagged there should be no problem if you can show that the funds did not come from illegal sources.
MegaSportWorld (MSW) is the domestic sportsbook in the Philippines and they offer lines on many international sports including basketball, soccer, boxing, cricket and more. They currently only offer sports betting to residents and tourists inside the Philippines. Players can call in bets over the telephone, physically walk into an MSW bet shop and place a bet, or bet online. However, online MSW betting is 21+ and limited only to so-called VIP gamblers, so most residents can’t participate. Luckily, expansive and all-inclusive Philippine legal online sports betting is available through offshore licensed and regulated sites. For our readers looking to bet on horse racing, check out our detailed guide on Philippine legal horse race betting.
Does R. A. 10927 Make Online Sports Betting Illegal In The Philippines?
No, the Republic Act 10927 does not make online sports betting illegal. It defines online gambling and states that the same rules apply for online sites. Philippine legal mobile sportsbooks, online sportsbooks and online casinos have deposit limits and bet limits that are well under 97,000 USD (5 million Philippine pesos) making this law in most cases irrelevant to online entities. Online gambling operations are permitted, licensed and regulated by Philippine corporations, but domestically regulated online gambling sites are unable to allow Philippine residents access to their online casinos and online sportsbooks.
The Impact of R. A. 10927 On Philippines Casinos
The amendment adds casinos as a covered person and states that casinos include internet and ship-based casinos. Casinos refer to a business that is licensed and authorized by the appropriate government agency to engage in gaming activities. There are several agencies that have their own jurisdiction to license and regulate casinos in the Philippines. This addition is just stating that all the licensed casinos no matter what jurisdiction is included in this amendment.
Internet casinos are defined as any casino in which the persons participate by remote communication devices such as internet, phone, television, radio or any other electronic communication device. The internet is still a new thing and since it has only come to the forefront in the past 30 years there are still many Philippine gambling laws that don’t cover internet operations.
Ship-based casinos are defined as any casino operations that takes place aboard a vessel, ship, boat or water-based craft intended for gambling. There are currently no casino ships docked in the Philippines but in certain areas, they could be coming soon. Okada Manila plans to build a large ship dock for casino ships to dock at their casino.
A covered transaction is defined as a cash or an equivalent monetary transaction including a total amount of more than 500,000 pesos within one banking day and for covered persons a single cash transaction involving more than 5,000,000 pesos or its equivalent in any monetary currency. Anything wagered above the specified peso amount now must be reported to the Anti-Money Laundering Committee (AMLC) for further investigation.
After determining probable cause that the money may be linked to illegal activities the Court of Appeals may issue a freeze order which would then be effective immediately. The Court of Appeals would then have 20 days to prepare a summary hearing to the parties and determine whether to lift the freeze or extend its effectivity. The total amount of time a freeze order can have shall never exceed more than 6 months. If there is no determination within the 6 months and there are no other cases against the said party, the freeze order shall be lifted.
The Republic Act 10927 requires that casinos keep detailed records about their players. No longer will casinos be able to accept aliases for identification but now must require a valid identification. This might turn off some players but is enforced to make casinos a safer place for everyone. Along with proper identification casinos will now ask for date and place of birth, present and permanent address, contact information, nationality, nature of work and source of funds. These records are to be kept by the casino operators for at least 5 years and during that time the AMLC can request to view those records for any reason necessary.