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Can Philippine Gamblers Play Casino Games Online?

Gambling has been legal for decades at land-based casinos in the Philippines, owned and run by the state, which uses the profits to good effect within the national budget. The Internet revolution, combined with the fact that Philippine citizens enjoy a high degree of connectivity compared to many other countries in the region, means that keen gamers in the republic can now play casino games online as well.

The Philippines has no laws against Internet gambling, so gamblers who choose to play casino games online are not committing any offence. They will, however, have to do so in online or mobile casinos licensed in foreign jurisdictions. A quirk in Philippine law means that although there are online casinos based and licensed in the republic, regulated by the autonomous Cagayan Special Economic Zone and Freeport, they are not legally available to Filipinos. Like the tourist-only land-based casinos in the Freeport, they must serve foreign customers exclusively.

Laws may Change Either Way

This leads to an anomaly. While locals in Cagayan have no access to land-based casinos at all, they can play casino games online, as long as the casino isn’t licensed in the Philippines. Those in the rest of the country have the same option when they want to play casino games online, but they can also visit any one of Manila’s 20 land-based casinos, operated by government regulator PAGCOR. But that in itself could be a major undertaking for many Filipinos, given the republic’s vast size and island nature.

Under those circumstances, it makes sense that casino enthusiasts in the Philippines would embrace online casino gaming; they can enjoy casinos conveniently from home. One would think that the revenue they generate when they play casino games online would also sway government in favour of allowing them to play at Philippine-licensed sites, as it would make more money available for social spending. However, President Duterte has come out against online gambling, so any changes in the law in the future could be either good or bad news for avid supporters of casinos online.

Philippine Players Still Spoilt for Choice

Those, however, are problems to be faced in the future. The fact remains that at present, there is nothing to stop those who want to play casino games online in the Philippines. They should obviously take basic Internet precautions: checking a site’s security certification to make sure their bank accounts will be safe from hacking, making sure there are audit certificates to attest to the fairness of the games, and checking reviews and message boards to ensure the site they wish to patronise has a solid reputation for square deals and fast payouts.

But even filtering out the unsavoury sites using those criteria, those who wish to play casino games online will still be left with dozens of foreign-licensed online casinos to choose from. Many review sites also have filters that let players search according to type of game, specific titles, or individual casino software developers, so finding a comfortable environment in which to play casino games online shouldn’t be a problem.

Watch Out for Bonuses

Most online casinos update their bonus offers on a daily or weekly basis. Those who play casino games online regularly should keep their eyes on various sites, so they can always play at the online casinos offering the best deals on free spins, deposit matches and so on.