As the worldwide Wuhan coronavirus pandemic wreaks havoc on industry across the globe, the Philippines gambling market is experiencing significant losses.
The most recent estimates suggest that PAGCOR – the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation – is losing US$118 million in revenue per month while most of its gambling businesses have been shut down.
PAGCOR Chairman and CEO Andrea Domingo explains that the venues are doing the best they can in assisting the nation during the Chinese coronavirus outbreak:
“We still do our best to reach out to communities which do not have access to basic needs. They deserve all the help that we can give. …
At the outbreak of COVID-19 in the country, PAGCOR immediately did its part in banning crowd gatherings through the closure order on all gaming facilities even if it meant an adverse effect on its earnings. The entire Philippine gaming industry will suffer but the people’s safety is of paramount importance – the employees, the customers and the public as a whole.”
While the Metro Manila quarantine is expected to last until at least April 14, it is likely that PAGCOR-operated and -licensed venues will have to wait a bit longer before reopening.
Globally, most COVID-19-related business suspensions and public access restrictions have been extended several weeks longer than the Philippines’ initial order.
POGOs are less affected than the land-based retail PAGCOR venues, as they are able to operate with minimal skeleton crews to continue offering online gambling services.
Unfortunately, those services are strictly for non-citizens of the Philippines, leaving the country’s millions of regular gamblers without a viable domestic option for casino gaming and sports betting as they ride out the nation’s quarantine order.
Theses sites are legal for Filipinos thanks to the nation’s gambling laws that do not bar their use. Since the operators are located outside of Philippine legal jurisdiction, there are no restrictions for local gamblers who wish to sign up and play while in quarantine.
As long as you are at least 18 years of age, these sites offer a full menu featuring hundreds of slots, casino table games, poker tournaments, and horse racing betting.
Sports betting is also on the menu, but because COVID-19 has caused most global sports leagues of note to shut down, these sites have pivoted to offering virtual sports betting and more eSports betting than ever before.
With NBA wagering being particularly popular in the Philippines, bettors will be pleased to know that they can wager on the NBA 2K20 tournament, which is a joint venture between the NBA and Take-Two Interactive. It’s not the real thing, but it is a pretty good approximation, and it’s being contested by real pro gamers instead of based on simulated matchups.
While casino gaming is a fun and entertaining pastime for Filipinos in quarantine, please take care to gamble responsibly. If you have to ration your funds to get through this difficult time, stick to these sites’ free-to-play casino options. You won’t win real money, but you won’t spend real money, either.