August 4, 2021
The COVID-19 pandemic has had an extremely adverse effect on the economic and financial situation of the Philippines. In fact, government revenues from more than 340 million PHP ($6,771) in July 2020 decreased to 291,920,000 PHP ($5,811,550) in May 2021. To help the government raise funds, President Rodrigo Duterte says that encouraging activities like gambling is a sensible thing to do.
The value of stocks of gambling companies in the Philippines rose in the first week of July 2021 in reaction to Duterte’s statement. Shares of online gambling operator PhilWeb, for instance, climbed 7.5%. A similar rise was recorded by Bloomberry Resorts Corp., operator of the Solaire Resort and Casino.
The implementation of higher tax burdens has resulted in the decision of many operators to relocate their business away from the Philippines. However, a revision of the tax rules could entice these operators to return.
A good number of online casino operators in the Philippines provide Internet-based gambling to Chinese players. And since China’s government is determined to prevent operators from offering online gambling to players in China, Duterte’s remarks could elicit a negative reaction from the Chinese government.
Engaging in games of chance is immensely popular in the Philippines. Whether in the streets, at home, or in casinos, there is a multitude of venues in which to gamble. Likewise, gambling games in the country are diverse, ranging from card games to lotteries to bingo tournaments and more.
World-class casinos in the big cities offer a variety of games to suit virtually every type of gambler. From slots to table games, there’s something for everyone. Besides the popular games from the West, online casino games originating from China are also widely played. One notable example is Sic Bo. It’s a gambling game played with three dice, and it’s known as hi-lo in the Philippines.
With the rise of digital and Internet technology, gambling has become even more accessible with the proliferation of online casinos. However, the country also contributes to the international online gambling scene in significant ways.
For one thing, the Philippines is home to several developers of software for online casino games. Opus Gaming is one notable example. Established in 2009, the company provides products such as RNG games, live casino, and sportsbook, among others.
SA Gaming is another Philippines-based online platform and casino game developer with an international presence. Also founded in 2009, the company streams live casino games from its studios in the Philippines and Europe.
Besides offering world-class online casino content, the Philippines also plays a role in maintaining the quality of online gaming and preventing the proliferation of illegal gambling operators, not only in the Philippines but also in neighboring countries. The Philippines does this through two gaming authorities.
The state-owned PAGCOR was established in 1976 and operates all betting outlets and land-based casinos in the country. It also issues licenses to some online gambling sites that are not based in the Philippines. Strangely, such sites are restricted from offering their services to players in the Philippines.
Also referred to as the Cagayan Freeport, this entity likewise serves as an online gambling licensing jurisdiction, among other functions. It issues two types of interactive gaming licenses (IGL), namely the E-Casino IGL and Sports Betting IGL to offshore companies.
The E-Casino IGL covers activities including studio and live streaming as well as RNG-based gaming. The sports betting IGL, as its name states, encompasses online activities where wagers are placed on sports events.
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