Presidential Decree 1869 – A Decree to Consolidate Previously Enacted PAGCOR Legislation

Presidential Decree Number 1869 was created under President Ferdinand Marcos and signed on July 11, 1983. This Decree also became known as the PAGCOR charter as it aimed to consolidate all previously enacted legal instruments concerning the operations of the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation, and the regulation of Philippine games and gambling activities. Before Presidential Decree No. 1869, in 1976, casinos only operated along Dewey Blvd and in cities like Bacolod, Davao, and Cebu all operating as their own entities which created the need for a united regulatory agency. PD No. 1869 quickly was integrated as a key Philippine gambling law as it amended PD 1067-A, PD 1067-B, PD 1067-C, PD 1399, and PD 1632.

PD No. 1869 mandated PAGCOR to act as the sole government corporation conducting and establishing gambling offers within the Philippines. Therefore, the Decree mainly facilitated the enforcement and application of the above-mentioned Presidential Decrees by fusing loose stand-alone instruments under one statute through Congress’s granted franchise charters. PD No. 1869 strengthened PAGCOR to become the central oversight board for Philippine gaming that it is today.

Under Presidential Decree No. 1869, specific lists of priority projects were outlined and indicated that the funding of such beneficial public works projects would come directly from the earnings of PAGCOR. The Decree covers information on the powers and functions of PAGCOR, its franchise, activities, and regulatory privileges. Under Presidential Decree No. 1869, PAGCOR is designed to operate and regulate all gaming forms within the Philippines. However, Decree No. 1869 did not limit PAGCOR’s franchise powers to the operation of gambling casinos alone as the Decree tasked PAGCOR to promote and attract tourism, mainly gambling tourism.

The revenue which PAGCOR generates through legal casinos assist in financing socio-civic, public, and national development. To facilitate revenue growth PAGCOR has positioned itself as an investment, tourism, and economic organization; in order to grow the welfare of the Filipino public PAGCOR must provide lucrative investment opportunities through casinos and draw enough attraction and tourism dollars on its own that investors are interested to then be able to redistribute the wealth generated through profits.

How Does PD No. 1869 Affect Casino Gambling in the Philippines?

Presidential Decree No. 1869 effectively prohibits any government employees, government officials, members of the Philippine Armed Forces, members of the Philippine National Police, persons under the age of 21, and Philippine school, college, or university students from entering and playing in Philippine casinos. This is specifically to keep out easily corruptible and vulnerable members in Filipino society. This is further reinforced by descriptions within the Decree that allow residents access to land-based casinos if said resident made at least PHP50,000 in the previous year, this discourages impoverished residents from visiting casinos and gambling away their life savings.

Otherwise, patrons and gamblers would need to pay hefty entrance fees to even begin to gamble. Those also barred from entering and gambling at casinos are employees of agencies which are directly involved with government operations. On December 12th, family members were also included in the list of ineligible casino players. Individual casinos could face a fine of PHP100,000 per person if caught in violation, casinos also risk being shut down for repeated or major violations.

The Effect of PD No. 1869 on Philippine Online Casino Gambling

This gaming law does not affect legal offshore online Philippine casino gambling. In fact, the main objective of PD No. 1869 is to create a blanket regulatory agency for domestically-based gambling, whether on land, ship, or online. Therefore, Presidential Decree 1869 does not give PAGCOR permission to regulate legitimately licensed offshore online and/or land-based operations as they are clearly outside of PAGCOR’s jurisdiction. Therefore, Filipino bettors and players can access online casinos from offshore servers and platforms no matter their occupation. However, Philippine-based online casinos remain illegal so ensure gaming destinations are licensed and based from an offshore agency for lawful online gambling.

Outcome Of Presidential Decree 1602

PD 1869 effectively made Philippine gaming rules applicable and enforceable under the official formation of PAGCOR. The law also specifically outlined members of Philippine society barred from domestic gambling activity, which in some cases curbed internal corruption and set an example by punishing high-level officials caught violating PD 1869. By centralizing regulation, control, and oversight to one agency (PAGCOR) instead of spread across individual districts, the Philippine government is able to pin-point accountability and manage nation-wide operations easily.