Are POGO Licenses In Limbo?

Philippine Senate Majority Leader Joel Villanueva has introduced the Anti-online gambling act to delegalize online gambling and criminalize participants; luckily for PH residents, it is not likely to pass.

Senator Villanueva believes that online gambling makes residents lazy and that criminalizing the activity will stop addiction and save lives. Penalties of up to six months and jail and fines of up to PHP 50,000 are also proposed in the bill.

There is some support for new legislation to prevent future POGO licenses since crime has been associated with the program. However, most senators agree that they must survey the social impact of POGO licenses and online gambling.

Does PAGCOR Still Offer POGO Licenses?

The Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) still issues POGO licenses for domestic casinos and sportsbooks to offer their services online. However, a POGO license allows the license holder to provide their services online to other countries, not the Philippines. POGO licenses have also got more expensive since their launch, and only a few license holders still exist. 

During the COVID-19 pandemic, PAGCOR allowed POGO license holders to offer their service to Philippine residents, but that allowance has since been revoked. Filipino residents can still be allowed to wager online with offshore casinos and sportsbooks.

Is Offshore Gambling Legal?

Yes, no Philippine gambling laws make it illegal for residents inside the country to gamble online with offshore casinos and sportsbooks. The proposed Anti-online gambling act does not seem to address offshore casinos, but that does not mean a future bill couldn’t criminalize the activity. 

It is unlikely that the PNP or PAGCOR could police an all-out online gambling ban, but we suggest you see your local ordinances before signing up online if the bill somehow passes.

Will The New Administration Change Online Gambling Laws?

There is a lot of speculation about how the new administration under BongBong Marcos will go about gambling and legal online casino gambling. There is no indication that they plan on reforming the gambling sector, but we will indeed report on any new developments.

For now, Philippine residents can wager online with legal casinos operating offshore and domestic casinos throughout the country.