Well, that only took forever.
But as we reported earlier – and as you’ve no doubt seen all around you – the COVID outbreak has caused many aspects of the Philippines gambling industry to undergo a governmental restructuring.
Or, more aptly, a re-envisioning.
Earlier this year, PAGCOR granted several major Entertainment City casinos the right to offer its games online to VIP members.
President Rodrigo Duterte even changed his tune about gambling in general, admitting that opening up the industry to greater access nationwide is necessary for the state’s coffers, particularly in this time of economic crisis.
Now, MegaSportsWorld has finally been granted authorization to roll out domestic online sports betting.
While MSW has offered betting lines on international sports to Philippines patrons for years, it’s never before been able to take wagers over the Internet.
Jeff Mann, MSW Managing Director, is pleased with the new development.
“We are delighted with this initiative by PAGCOR. It will be the first time MSW, in its 12-year history, will be able to provide our verified customers a fully regulated, online option in addition to our successful bricks & mortar offering.
Like everyone else we have taken a major knock to our business during the past 16 months due to various COVID related issues including extensive community lockdowns and restrictions, but we are now in a ‘build back’ mode with an aggressive investment and 5-year expansion plan now in place.”
The MSW online option will augment roughly 70 individual standalone betting outlets operating throughout the islands, in addition to the flagship MSW betting lounges in venues like the City of Dreams Manila, Resorts World Manila, and the Winford Hotel and Casino in Clark.
All that said, several questions remain.
One of the primary issues unresolved by this news is whether or not online MSW betting will be available to all Filipinos or just those deemed existing “VIP” members.
If the former is true, this represents the biggest new access point for Philippine gamblers since legal gambling was incorporated in the nation.
If access is limited to the select few, however, steps will need to be taken to expand the market before its revenues can truly have a chance to change the current state of affairs for the better.
The other major consideration is whether or not the new law will allow Philippine bettors to bet on local Philippines sports.
Currently, MSW can only offer odds and lines on international leagues and tournaments.
Popular home-grown leagues like the PBA and local events like professional boxing have heretofore been excluded from MSW’s offerings, while both of these – and many other domestic markets – are fully supported by legal offshore betting sites.
If MSW wants to compete with the best Philippines betting sites online, PAGCOR – or the legislature itself – will eventually have to open up access to all of the above.
The rationale behind such restrictions currently is to prevent match fixing and betting fraud. But with the proper safeguards in place, it’s been shown that local rules and regulations can effectively combat these concerns, as they have in the United States when it comes to collegiate and minor league sports betting.
This is the Philippines’ 2018 PASPA moment.
Here’s hoping the country stays on the right track!