First Domestic Online Casino in Philippines

‘Philippines First Domestic Online Casino!’ (Image Source: solairesresort.com)

 

For a long time, online gambling companies in the Philippines operated purely to serve overseas markets while laws prevented locals from gambling online. In a recent U-turn by the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp (PAGCOR) all that looks as if it is set for a swift change as the first online casino license that focuses on allowing Filipino citizens to gamble online is not active!

The first news reports that strongly suggested new online casino licenses that would allow Philippines operators to target the domestic market hit the iGaming grapevine in a report circulated in November. At the time, its President Alfredo Lim-president of PAGCOR contacted Bloomberg directly to report on the situation and give the highly respected news agency insights as to what could come next.

Since then, it seems the licensing authority hit the fast-forward button and issued its first casino license to a local operator, and once again the report comes via the same source who confirmed with Bloomberg that the first license is now operational while more will come.

VIP casino players to help recoup lost tax dollars

For the time being, the licenses issued are for VIP customers only. Reading between the lines, only wealthy Philippine citizens will have access to any new online casinos offering table games, slots, and other online gambling services.

One of the key reasons behind the country’s sudden change of heart is because of the huge losses sustained due to COVID-19. The ripple effect of the pandemic affects not only land-based casinos in the Philippines, but also the tax dollars the government gains from casino business. On top of this, the collapse of the online casino industry set up to serve overseas markets has also left the government in search of new revenue streams.

Bloomberry Resorts’ Solaire Resort & Casino

The recipient of the license is the Bloomberry Resorts’ Solaire Resort & Casino, which now has permission to offer online gambling to VIP customers only currently, which is very similar to land-based casino operations already operate in the country.

Although the casino license allows the casino to begin operations immediately, the platform that will allow players to place bets online still needs to go through a testing phase. Those tests are being carried out by the PAGCOR regulators.

More online casinos to follow in the Philippines

There are still more online casinos waiting for their licenses. Both the Okada Manila Casino and the City of Dreams Casino in Manila filed for online license approval according to the PAGCOR president. For now there is no news of other casino looking to take advantage of new laws in the country.

Playtech and Vivo Gaming ideally placed

Both Playtech and Vivo Gaming already operate live casino studios in the Philippines. Much like the online casino operators offering access to virtual casinos, these studios focus on providing services to overseas markets.

Although there are some hurdles to overcome, both studios look perfectly poised to quickly raid the Philippine online casino market, and much to their delight there is no Evolution, Microgaming, or Pragmatic Play to deal with in this neck of the woods.

One of the major steppingstones for both live casino platforms to overcome is the way the new online casino laws in the Philippines work. They are much the same as the USA, whereby online gambling services offered to the domestic market must go via a land-based casino.

That said, although the population of the Philippines is over 106 million, only a small fraction of that number has the means to affordably gamble online. Therefore, one would assume any services offered by either platform would be a turnkey operational deal with the local casinos awarded online casino licenses.

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