PBA Betting Resumes, Tom Brady Retires, Washington Goes Nuts, And More

Another week, another weekly Philippine legal online gambling roundup.

And, as you might expect, we have both good news and bad news to report.

The good news comes by way of the latest PBA developments: On Sunday, the league announced a February 11 restart for the 2021-2022 Governors’ Cup.

The move comes as a relief for many.

Just two weeks ago, there was considerable doubt about the future of the conference. Scenarios ranged from resuming games in a bubble format to sending the import players home to cancelling the season outright.

Luckily, for now, it seems that things will continue forward under the standard Governors’ Cup format. Of course, how the extended tournament will affect the start of the next PBA season – and, specifically, the start of the 2022 Philippine Cup – remains to be seen.

Now for the bad news, though this affects legal NFL betting fans in the Philippines considerably less than it affects gamblers in the United States:

Tom Brady has formally retired after 22 seasons in the NFL, and Rob Gronkowski is probably leaving with him.

Meanwhile, Ben Roethlisberger has also hung up his cleats, and Aaron Rodgers may turn in his pads, as well. The NFL looks a lot different than it did a couple of weeks ago, and we’re not all that thrilled about it.

Still, Super Bowl 56 – between the Los Angeles Rams and the Cincinnati Bengals – promises to be an entertaining and hard-fought game. The Rams are favored by 4.5 points at home, so we’re taking the Bengals and the points.

In more amusing NFL news, the Washington Football Team (née Washington Redskins) officially decided to call themselves the Washington Commies, which is completely hilarious if you’re up on your international American politics.

To be clear, we aren’t sure if this is an intentional dig against the annoying political correctness that forced Washington to change its name in the first place or if it was just a boneheaded oversight after two years and millions of dollars of market research.

We like to think it’s an epic troll on the part of owner Daniel Snyder, but we aren’t holding our breath for any official Washington Commies merch.

Going along with the sports betting theme, Jade SportsBet – arguably the leading PAGCOR-licensed domestic sportsbook operator in the Philippines – is rolling out a series of NBA-themed “basketball mini-games” in a free-to-play platform.

We’re not really sure what all that means, but Jade SportsBet is also pushing a new feature it calls “Multiboost.”

This, too, is unclear, although it seems like a branded parlay market. In other words, nothing you couldn’t already get at Philippine legal online sportsbooks like BetOnline, SportsBetting AG, Intertops, Xbet, MyBookie, and similar top-rated offshore betting sites.

Finally, we have a bit of news from the casino market specifically.

The first is that even more churches have joined the fight against the now-infamous illicit opening of the Grand Imperial Casino in Barangay Taboc, Opol.

Per MindaNews:

“Protestant and evangelical churches in Cagayan de Oro and neighboring areas have joined in the fight against the newly opened gambling casino in a neighboring town in Misamis Oriental from resuming operations once the government downgrades the COVID-19 pandemic alert level in the province.

Their leaders – along with leaders of the Roman Catholic church and the Iglesia Filipina Independiente (IFI) – signed a position paper in time for the celebration of the World Interfaith Harmony Week, which started on Tuesday.”

As reported, at least eight different religious leaders in the area signed the Ecumenical and Interfaith Statement of Concern, including the following:

  • Archbishop Emeritus Antonio LedesmaCagayan de Oro
  • Archbishop Jose CabantanCagayan de Oro
  • Bishop Felixberto CalangIglesia Filipina Independiente, of Cagayan de Oro
  • Bishop Redeemer YanezDiocese of Libertad, Misamis Oriental
  • Bishop Genesis UdangPhilippine Council of Evangelical Churches, Peace and Reconciliation Council
  • Bishop Ligaya Flores San FranciscoUCCP Northwest Mindanao Jurisdiction
  • Minister Mario EboraUCCP District Conference of Northern Mindanao
  • Nasalli SilavaPresident of the Cagayan de Oro Evangelical Ministers Association

Why PAGCOR doesn’t just shut this thing down until all parties involved can come to an amicable resolution is beyond us. It’s not like PAGCOR has a ton of money riding on this thing in the near term.

And speaking of money, we come to our final news item: cold, hard cash.

Or, rather, the lack thereof.

According to PAGCOR’s newly released economic report, the country’s gaming arm earned a 2021 net income of just PHP 203.6 million ($3.9 million US). That’s down a whopping 87% year over year, when the agency saw a net income of PHP 1.55 billion ($30.3 million US).

This poor performance is largely due to the numerous extended COVID lockdowns in Metro Manila and beyond, but as net income for 2020 was itself down 84% year over year, the trend needs to go the other way in a hurry.

Hopefully, if the Omicron variant has abated enough to allow the PBA to resume play, the brick-and-mortar gambling market will get back on its feet in short order, too.