Metro Manila Casinos Now Allowed To Reopen Near Max Capacity

Slowly but surely, the land-based Philippine casino industry is opening back up.

After suffering through more extended lockdowns (albeit not to the extent that they were closed during 2020), major Philippine IRs are now welcoming back in-person patrons.

While the biggest operators had rolled out legal online iGaming to a limited clientele (rendering them largely unable to compete in terms of volume with the offshore Philippines casinos, legal Philippine sportsbooks, and PH poker rooms we recommend here), there’s no real risk that foot traffic will be lower than usual as a result.

In many casino districts worldwide, there’s a real fear that ubiquitous access to online slots, online blackjack, online roulette, and the like would take away from the in-person amusements and all the economic down-market industries thereof.

However, that’s never been borne out, because – despite the sheer convenience of real-money gambling over the Internet – there’s no conceivable way to replace wholesale the experience of live betting in a legitimate gambling house.

Online gambling – unless that’s a bettor’s only convenient option – acts to supplement the brick-and-mortar market, not to subvert it or undermine it.

Indeed, even the players in and around Entertainment City that are allowed to actually gamble in person also play online. But whenever they can, they do tend to make time for retail.

Now, with the country downgrading their COVID restrictions from Alert Level Three to Alert Level Two, the biggest Philippine casinos – venues like Solaire, Okada Manila, City of Dreams, and Resorts World – will be able to boost their gambling floor capacities to 90%, while their restaurants are now allowed to operate at 60%. Outdoor dining, meanwhile, may be reopened to 80% capacity.

This, of course, is all excellent news for the local economy and the Philippine gambler in general, and it’s the biggest gambling news in the region.

However, it’s also worth checking in on the odds for the 2022 Philippine Presidential election.

The following are courtesy of BetOnline Sportsbook, with the previous week’s odds in parentheses:

  • Bongbong Marcos -120 (-125)
  • Manny Pacquiao +170 (+180)
  • Sara Duterte-Carpio +850 (+1000)
  • Isko Moreno +1000 (+1000)
  • Leni Robredo +1050 (+800)
  • Bong Go +3000 (+3000)
  • Alan Peter Cayetano +10000 (+1000)
  • Antonio Trillanes +10000 (+10000)

As you can see, Bongbong Marcos is still the favorite, though he’s slipped a bit as Sen. Manny Pacquiao has fought his way back up by 10 points.

The biggest difference on the boards, of course, are the odds for Sara Duterte-Carpio, who still hasn’t declared her candidacy and has until November 15 to do so.

Bettors seem at least somewhat convinced that she’ll enter the fray.

The biggest loser on the boards since last time is Vice President Leni Robredo, who dropped 250 points and seems to have waning support in the islands to take the top seat in government.

Obviously, it’s still Marcos’ fight to lose, and PacMan still has a chance. But if Mayor Sara does declare her candidacy, you can expect her to be the front runner almost immediately. In other words, get your bets in now if you think she’ll run, because the payout will shrink considerably as soon as she makes it official.

Regardless of whether she runs or not, of course, the race – and its implications – are just going to get more and more interesting from here on out.