The Philippines are a famous gaming hub in South-East Asia and a well-known one globally. Since gambling was legalized in 1976, the industry skyrocketed and made Manila one of the most recognizable gambling destinations in the world. Visitors can get the Vegas-like experience in luxury casinos, usually located in Metro Manila. Besides that, technological advancement moved the gaming industry online, and we can see the number of online operators increasing rapidly. The online casino industry boomed, especially during the lockdown, but, in any case, it would enjoy a steep growth. In this article, we will investigate the impact of the online gaming sector on the Philippines.
Initial Controversies Around Online Casinos
The Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation regulates the industry since its legislation. It is the authority that governs both land-based and online operators in the country. Some of the biggest names in the online gambling industry run their businesses in the Philippines, and you can find the best casino sites in this page. Besides issuing licenses to foreign offshore operators, PAGCOR also regulates POGO – Philippines Offshore Gaming Operators.
POGOs enjoyed a massive expansion, and that would be an excellent trend if there were no controversies around them. Many consider that their rapid growth is a consequence of a strong Chinese influence on the domestic government. A lot of Chinese workers operate POGO businesses, while the majority of players come from the Chinese population as well. Besides that, Manila-based POGOs count more than 70,000 employees, and a number of them work in illegally-operated POGOs which are still not licensed.
This situation was a perfect cause to debate whether they have a positive impact or not. Eventually, gambling proponents were stronger in their reasoning, and their major argument was a positive impact on the tax revenue. Although President Rodrigo Duterte was initially against gambling, he reversed his stance on gambling. As a result, PAGCOR also allowed domestic online gambling in Q2 of 2021.
President Duterte was originally against gambling, but the economic crisis caused by the Covid-19 pandemic made him revise his opinion on this topic. He went public in July to support the online gambling industry, as it could help the country to boost its funds. Since the government was running out of money, online gambling was the most sensible thing to do in order to increase the tax revenue.
The short-term impact of online gambling on the Philippines’ economy is the increase of cash reserves to fight the pandemic. Of course, the industry’s influence is not restricted only to financial support for the battle against Covid-19. It can bring a sustainable income that can trigger more investments that can attract more people to operate their businesses in the Philippines, regardless of their sectors.
The Impact of Online Gambling
PAGCOR made a concrete move to encourage the online casino industry growth by allowing domestic operators to run their online operations for the first time. Tiger Resort, Leisure and Entertainment was the first operator to obtain the license back in April this year. The permit was also granted to Jade Entertainment, which can also offer its online services within the country.
Domestic casino players now have an extra option to enjoy their favorite casino games. Since the luxury casino resorts are not affordable to a wide range of players, they headed to offshore online casinos that started admitting the Philippines’ customers. However, they can now register at domestic operators, and the money they spend on gaming will remain circulating within the country.
Moreover, the country’s income can increase thanks to the licensing fees. Besides the land-based operators, domestic online casinos would need to pay defined fees for obtaining the license. That money could help the country’s economy and generate more revenue in times of crisis. The industry which continuously grows can bring steady income and great support to the government’s funds.
What the Future Holds for the Philippines’ Online Casino Industry?
The entire Philippine gambling industry is on a steep rise, and it books a 762% growth year on year. It generated more than $400 million in the current year, which is around seven times more than in the same period in 2020. The gamers mostly enjoyed slots, which are the biggest contributors to the revenue with over PHP 1 billion, while table games brought half of that figure.
Entertainment City is the hotspot of the Philippines’ gambling industry, however, the online casino sector should keep generating significant revenue. The number of domestic online operators should keep increasing, and we expect more online casinos in the near future. It can be good news for both domestic players and the Philippines’ economy, which should benefit from the growing tax revenue. In any case, the online casino industry will keep growing and make the Philippines one of the world’s most recognizable gaming hubs.