The Philippines is a country where gambling laws can be a bit confusing at first. Our years of experience showed that the most frequently asked questions include whether online casinos are legit or if lotteries can be played online. To help our fellow compatriots in a summarized and well-explained way, we have developed this complete guide on gambling laws in the Philippines.
Table of Contents
Is Gambling Legal in the Philippines?
Yes, gambling was legalized and regulated in the Philippines back in 1975 after Decree no. 1067-a, which later transformed into law. It determined what forms of gambling would become legal in the Philippines and created the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) to license entities and control the gambling market.
There are exceptions, meaning that not all forms of gambling are seen as legal. Fortunately, there is a great spoiler if you are not willing to read the entire guide: Online sports betting, online lottery, and online casinos are all within the legal scope, as long as you play them on foreign websites that are headquartered and licensed elsewhere.
Are Online Casinos Legit in the Philippines?
With the increasing popularity of online casinos in the Philippines, you may wonder: “are online casinos legit?”. After all, our country has physical casinos, and the entity behind them only licenses their online version to tourists and foreigners.
Luckily for us, despite that prohibition to local businesses, it is not forbidden to play on online casinos – or any other form of online gambling, for that matter – on foreign websites. As long as the online casino site truly does not operate from our country and carries a license, it is a legal option.
What Do Online Gambling Laws Say?
According to Executive Order no. 13, Filipinos are free to gamble online in the Philippines as long as the websites are held by offshore operators and not local businesses. Therefore, although local casinos can offer their games online, no local residents can play them, only those found on sites by foreign companies.
Also, despite the efforts to put House Bill 8910 through approval, e-sabongs and online cockfighting are not allowed in the country.
Gambling Tax Laws for Winnings in the Philippines
Regarding earnings from gambling, there is a lack of enough information in the tax code of our country. According to the theory, earnings of up to 10000 PHP are taxed at 10%, and anything above that would be taxed at 20%, but each player has to fill the tax reports accordingly. In general, it is known that low-rollers do not bother filling those for low amounts.
Also, considering that the income tax starts at 5% and goes up to 32%, people with great earnings might have to pay the remaining percentage after the gambling tax. The best idea is to contact and consult with an accountant that has experience with gambling taxes.
What Forms of Gambling are Legal in the Philippines?
By knowing both physical and online gambling laws in the Philippines, you are probably registering an account to play right now. If, by any chance, the explanations still left you without a clear idea of what is truly allowed in the country, do not worry. In a summarized way, I brought you each form of gambling and its legal status.
|Type of Gambling||Is It Legal?|
|Casino||Casinos are legal in the Philippines, and every person in the country, local or tourist, may gamble from the legalized age of 21 years or older.|
|Online Casino||It is legal to play online casino games in the Philippines if the chosen website is operated by an offshore company.|
|Sports Betting||Sports betting was legalized in the Philippines years ago, and you may simply go to an outlet and make your bets.|
|Online Sports Betting||Online sports betting follows the same principle as online casino gambling in the Philippines. As long as you choose a sportsbook from elsewhere, you will be fine.|
|Lottery||There are great lottery games in the Philippines, and you can go to a retailer and play them as you wish.|
|Online Lottery||There is no official online lottery for local games in the Philippines, but we can legally play on offshore lottery sites and have access to dozens of international lotteries.|
|Cockfighting||Physical cockfighting as a gambling activity is legal in the Philippines.|
|Online Cockfighting||Recently, online cockfighting or e-sabong was discontinued as a legal form of gambling in the Philippines. Therefore, it is illegal to place bets on that type of game.|
The Most Important Gambling Laws in the Philippines
If you are here for a more objective approach to the gambling laws of the Philippines, the table below brings all the relevant information on local and online gambling laws:
|Decree No. 1067-a||Created the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) and passed it into law in 1977, empowering PAGCOR to regulate the gambling industry in the country.|
|Decree No. 1602||Added arduous penalties for activities considered to be illegal within gambling laws in the Philippines due to the possible confusion of their limits.|
|Republic Act (No. 9287)||Another act to define more details about illegal gambling activities with no mention of online gambling.|
|Presidential Decree (No. 1869)||Established further detailment on the operation of the PAGCOR, its powers, and how it would license operators in the Philippines.|
|Republic Act (No. 7922)||Establishment of the economic zone of Cagayan Freeport in the Cagayan Valley focused on tourism and included the offer of casinos.|
|Executive Order (No. 13)||Another step towards fighting illegal gambling, separating the legal form of online gambling for locals, which is through offshore operators.|
|Republic Act 9487||Extension of the rule of PAGCOR for another 25 years back in 2007.|
|Republic Act No. 10927||Regulates and restricts payouts and wagers that are considered big, including the demand for casinos to keep records of their customers.|
|House Bill 8910||Aimed at the legalization of e-sabong, currently considered an illegal form of online gambling.|
Gambling Regulatory Agencies in the Philippines
The gambling laws in the Philippines do not only confirm that something is allowed within the country or prohibit it. There have to be regulatory agencies responsible for making sure that players and companies are following the rules.
In the table below, I have brought up the main regulatory agencies connected to gambling. From now on, whenever there is some news that includes them, you know that something might be changing in the gambling laws of the Philippines.
|Philippine Amusement And Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR)||Branch of the government that regulates the gambling industry and licenses any business aiming at exploring games connected to luck. Its revenue supports the national development programs of the government.|
|First Cagayan Leisure And Resort Corporation (FCRLC)||Corporation created to manage and regulate the gambling economy of the region of Cagayan.|
|Philippine Racing Commission (PHILRACOM)||Regulates horse racing in the Philippines but also aims at improving the breeding of horses and fighting illegal importation.|
|Games And Amusements Board (GAB)||Regulation of sports of the pay-for-play type and fights against the creation of illegal bookies or gambling centers focused on sports.|
|Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO)||Regulation and organization of sweepstakes and lottery games in the country. Through its revenue, it engages in investments connected to public health.|
Will the Gambling Law in the Philippines Change?
The current gambling law scope in the Philippines is excellent for those who like to gamble. There are great options to play at outlets and local retailers, but virtually infinite alternatives exist when we skip to the online form of gambling. For now, with the exception of what happened to e-sabong, there seem to be no strong movements to make online gambling illegal.
Therefore, there is no reason to be concerned. Simply decide what form of gambling you prefer and choose a website to begin having fun.
The legal gambling age in the Philippines is 21 years old, even if you register on a website that allows registration from 18 years old.
Illegal gambling encompasses anything that is not allowed by the local law, such as e-sabong or playing on local online casinos.
People betting on an illegal form of gambling can take 30 to 90 days of imprisonment, but the penalty rises proportionally for people who work or provide that form of gambling, reaching up to 20 years.
The President determined that local businesses would not be allowed to offer their gambling services online because that could be prejudicial to the nation. However, online gambling on foreign sites remains a legal option.
Online and physical sports betting, land-based and online casinos, local cockfighting, and both online and local lotteries.