Online casinos have grown in popularity across the world, nowhere more so than the Philippines, where there are a colossal number of online casinos situated within the country. The legal situation for gambling in the Philippines is an odd one, though, with a state-owned licensing agency, the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation or PAGCOR, which controls all forms of gambling within the country’s borders, apart from one region, the Cagayan Special Economic Zone and Freeport situated on the northeastern tip of the country which is allowed to issues its gambling licenses and uses different criteria to award them.
Choosing an Online Casino in the Philippines
When looking for a suitable casino in the Philippines there are a few things to consider; here we will discuss the five most important aspects to take a look at.
- Legality – It is essential to ensure that the casino is both licensed and accredited by PAGCOR or the Cagayan licensing authorities, depending on where it is situated. There are a couple of reasons for this; firstly accreditation means that the casino has been checked and its owners verified, so you have some level of security before you start, which in the often wild internet world, is always a good thing. Secondly, not being licensed is illegal, so the casino is operating outside of the law. Now, it may be just me, but anyone who is prepared to run a business outside of the law is probably not someone I would trust with my money.
- Finances – Another aspect of the casino to check is the payment and withdrawal structure, to make sure that they accept your preferred method of payment of course, but to also check on withdrawal fees, some casinos have higher fees for certain payment systems, and this can mean both depositing and withdrawing money can prove expensive. When checking on the payment systems, it is also worth looking at any payment or withdrawal delays to get a clearer picture of how easy or difficult it will prove to move money around using the payment method you want.
- Bonuses – this is a major contributor to many people, how much or what kind of sign up bonuses get offered for that first deposit. How much is not the only thing to check, though, there are restrictions on all online bonuses whatever casino they are from. Usually a percentage value of the bonus (300% as an example) you have played in games before you can make a withdrawal. Obviously, this should be considered along with the amount, to get a clearer picture of how useful those bonuses are. A large bonus that requires a huge play through value is not necessarily the best option, a smaller bonus with much lower requirements before you can make withdrawals could prove more useful to a player.
- The Games – It may seem far down the list for some, but making sure your casino is legal and easy to get your money in and out of are important aspects of narrowing the search down, however ultimately casino games are what you want to play, so choosing a casino that includes all of your favorites is important, a casino where you cannot play the games you want to is no good at all! While Roulette and Blackjack are fairly standard, it is often the types of slot games that can be the decider or some people may like the video roulette with a real person spinning a real wheel and not be as fond of the digitally animated games. Check out everything that is available, or not, before committing to a casino.
- Reviews – It is always worth checking out some reviews of the casino you have picked out to make sure everything is OK, especially look out for games that never seem to pay out or people having difficulty withdrawing money, wither should be a red flag on the choice and look for an alternative.
Facts about the situation of online casinos in the Philippines
Online gambling itself, and online casinos in the Philippines are surrounded by many myths, here are some facts about Philippine casinos you may not know.
- The Philippines is the only country in Asia to license Online Casinos. This may seem radical, but the Philippines is in a unique situation, with a society well used to gambling as part of the social culture and casino licensing and accreditation carried out by a government-owned organization, there is a desire for the product and the means to control it all in place. Regulation is tight, but that means the casinos themselves well run and reliable.
- The licensing agency PAGCOR is second only to the government tax department for contribution to the economy; it employs over 11,000 people in numerous facilities including real-world casinos and various e-games cafes that house online casino games and resemble an internet café. Despite not being able to play most online casinos at home, Filipinos are spending 1.38 Billion Filipino Pesos a year on online gambling. With the introduction of more online games for Filipinos to play, this will likely rise significantly over the coming years.
- For the majority of the Philippines, there is only one online Casino creator, Philweb, in partnership with PAGCOR. In Cagayan, there are over 70 different casino providers all operating, none of which the locals can use, for online play they are restricted to the e-games cafes by law apart from the new Philweb project. Cagayan is host to most of the larger online casino companies that serve Asia, and operate in an identical manner to the large international casinos we have seen elsewhere.
- Online casinos in the Philippines are banned from providing three games, Last Two, Jueteng and Masiao by law. They are free to provide any other game and indeed are well known for the video Roulette games that has a live table spun in real time as part of the online game, and slot machines, which are incredibly popular in the e-games stations. There are currently over 250 variations of the slot machine game available in online casinos from the Philippines, making them by far the most played games.
- Part of the licensing agreement for Casinos requires that they have enough capital to cover the casino’s obligations, and requires account balances and winnings to be paid promptly. This makes government licensed casinos very safe places to put your money and makes them some of the most tightly regulated casinos around. For security and peace of mind online casinos in the Philippines make a lot of sense.