Rep. Ricardo S. Cruz, Jr, a Philippine congressman, has recently filed a bill that, if passed, would outlaw all online gambling in the Philippines.
Under HB 7689, anyone who places a bet online would be subject to a P500,000 fine or a six-month jail sentence, and anyone caught operating an online gambling site would face up to a five-year jail sentence. Punishments for government officials are even harsher, with the same fine, a jail sentence, and banishment from public office.
Cruz filed HB 7689 and submitted it to the committee for review; however, it is unlikely to pass. Despite recent cries to outlaw Philippine Offshore Gaming Operator (POGO) licenses that allow online gaming websites to operate from the Philippines, many lawmakers would rather keep the revenue stream it produces for the country open.
The Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) earns roughly P9 million a day and regulates all domestic and online casino and sportsbook operations in the Philippines. Pasig City recently outlawed online gambling operations in their jurisdiction but cannot prevent their citizens from gambling.
Are Online Casinos Operating Legally In The Philippines?
Yes, online casinos are operating legally both from the Philippines and from outside of the country. Philippine gambling laws do not outlaw offshore casinos from providing their services to the Philippines, and domestic online casinos are only allowed to operate in neighboring countries and not the Philippines.
Popular online casinos in the Philippines are offshore and provide players with convenient banking options. In addition to multiple funding options, Filipino players will also find generous casino and sportsbook bonuses, twenty-four-seven customer service, and reward programs for players.
What Is Next For HB 7689?
Now that HB 7689 is under review by the House committee, it will have to pass a vote before it can be issued to the Senate before it can be passed as law. HB 7689 is not expected to make it to the Senate as there doesn’t seem to be enough support at the house level. In the future, it is unlikely that all online gambling ventures in the Philippines will cease to exist despite local ordinances forbidding the operation of such sites in their jurisdiction.
A bill outlawing online gambling is not a significant concern for many Filipinos as it would likely only prevent the country’s operation and not gambling itself.