The Philippines has one of the most developed policies and governance in place for gambling, that is monitored and regulated by the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR). In fact, did you know that the Phillipines is the only South East Asian country to regulate online casinos.
PAGCOR is the Philippine’s sole government agency, the only one, that has the authority to determine gaming licensing for both land based and online casinos.
PAGCOR is an important pillar to the government’s national budget. More than half the earnings that it generates is returned to the National Treasury to fund community projects, sport grants and addressing drug and alcohol addiction. In addition, funds that remain within PAGCOR are also directed to social needs such as housing and employment.
Not widely known, is that PAGCOR has been in existence for over thirty years! Of course, back in the day when it started, its remit included land based casinos only. The advent of the internet and casinos sites, has been a recent inclusion, and department policies are continually changing to meet the needs of the country. This is not unexpected, as technology has created a world in which change is occurring faster and faster.
The turning point in profitability for PAGCOR came In 2017, when gross income reached a massive P60 billion for the year. The income could most be attributed to the licensing of online casinos.
PAGCOR online gambling has unsurprisingly deteriorated in 2020. PHILWeb/PAGCOR Casinos have estimated to fallen to profitability of P542m a decline from the heydays prior to Covid-19
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Regulated and Licensed PAGCOR Online Casinos
Being regulated and licensed, online casinos have the opportunity to offer a variety of games. These include games that are both RNG and live dealer. RNG games include slots, video poker, and traditional casino games like blackjack, roulette, baccarat and dragon tiger.
For live dealer games these include hosted game play such as wheel dealer and football fantasy. These games require a host to spin the wheel, draw numbers or roll dice.
PAGCOR permits the form of all online casino games, without restriction.
PAGCOR Online Casino Revenue Booms
Online casino revenue has boomed in recent years due to several factors.
Firstly, technology has changed to allow for fantastic gaming. Internet speeds have increased to enable live dealer streaming to desktop, laptop and other mobile devices. RNG gaming has improved to provide for an enjoyable experience, glitch free, hassle free and innovative. Payment methods have moved digitally from cash based.
With 4G (and soon to be 5G) internet speeds becoming available to players, the detail and quality of games can be signficantly improved. Internet speeds have made downloading mobile gaming apps redundant due to the efficiency of connecting to the game server. In the past, due to slow internet speeds, a mobile app would need to be downloaded to enable smooth, glitch free game play. But now connectivity is so fast that playing directly on a casino site is now possible.
HTML5 coding is also allowing for dynamic rendering of website layouts via any internet browser. Again, this has made mobile gaming apps redundant, whereby in the past each mobile device size had to be individually catered for (a real challenge for game developers).
In the past, transactions in the Philippines were mostly cash. Bank accounts were by and large mostly for large businesses, almost non existent among the common people. Due to the lack of up take of bank accounts, creditcards were also lacking with no bank account to attach to.
These two digital payment methods has enabled players to enjoy online casino games, with creating an easy, convenient, frictionless deposit and withdrawal method.
Secondly, the growth of the Philippine economy and that of neighbors such as China, has been a huge boost to players joining the online casino trend. China in recent years, has seen average middle income earnings soar, creating disposable incomes that is being spent on entertainment and gaming activities. This has led to PAGCOR licensing and regulating online casinos that accept players from China.
PAGCOR Online Casino Issues
It is in fact illegal for Chinese players to participate at online casinos, however, this has not prevented PAGCOR from legalizing online casinos. The push for a growing online casino industry has caused friction between the two countries, especially as the number of Chinese players has grown substantially.
Of course, the growth in Chinese players, has also led to the growth in employment for Chinese dealers and other workers. By far the majority of online casino gaming is in the form of live dealer games. Chinese players love to play with a live dealer streamed to their player device. As a result, live dealer casinos require dealers and/or hosts that can speak Mandarin, thus creating huge employment opportunities for Chinese dealers.
Though Chinese dealers are remunerated very well when compared to what they could earn in their hometowns, the career developement is extremely limited. This poses a dilemma for Chinese dealers, as to whether limiting future opportunities is offset with immediate short term pay.
Facebook Online Casino Scams
There are other factors that have generated discourse for the regulation of online casinos. PAGCOR has seen a substantial increase in fraudulent activity. Scams have become more common often marketed through social media, namely Facebook.
PAGCOR has reached out to Facebook to be more proactive in curtailing scam online casino activity through removing ads and banning their activity. This is not a quick win, with Facebook earning advertising revenue from online casinos. Thus, for this to change will require ongoing discussions with the social media giant.
It goes without saying, online casinos that are promoted through Facebook are mostly scams. Do NOT play at online casinos via Facebook, because they cannot be trusted.
PAGCOR is the Filipino agency assigned to regulate and monitor online casinos. It has been in existence for over thirty years, and generates income that contributes to the National Treasury finance, as well as directly to social community intiatives.
Online casinos approved by PAGCOR provides safety and security for players.