PH Congressman Johnathan Flores Seeks To Replace PAGCOR

PAGCOR new logoJohnathan Flores, a senior member of the Philippines House of Representatives, is urging Congress to support House Bill 3559, which would reform gambling regulation in the country.

HB3559 has been in lingo for the past two years after being first drafted by Rep. Ralph Recto, who is now the Secretary of Finance. If passed into law, the bill would authorize the creation of the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Commission (PAGCOM).

The creation of PAGCOM would essentially give the new government agency sole regulation of casino operations and standards.

PAGCOR Regulation & Ownership

The idea of PAGCOM has grown from the current regulation of the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR), enacted into law by PD 1067-a in 1977.

First created to tax and oversee the gambling industry, PAGCOR jumped into ownership by operating a floating casino in Manila Bay in 1977. Since then, PAGCOR has grown into ownership with its Casino Filipino brand. PAGCOR currently owns 9 casinos and 33 satellite casino locations.

In recent years, PAGCOR has received criticism for owning and overseeing the operations of online casinos and brick-and-mortar locations. PAGCOR has set a timeline to sell its owned casinos by the end of 2025 and will focus solely on regulation.

Philippine Online Casino Laws

There are several federal Philippine gambling laws, but none of them address online gambling as they were enacted before the e-commerce boom of the early 2000s.

In 2016, PAGCOR started issuing a Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators (POGO) license that allowed online casinos; however, there are restrictions. The reason for allowing online casinos stemmed from PAGCOR’s decision not to renew the PhilWeb license in 2016. POGO license holders can only offer their services online to other countries and not the Philippines.

How To Play Online Casino Games In The Philippines?

Legal online casinos in the Philippines are offered from trusted gambling sites located outside of the country. The country does not block online casinos, sports betting, or poker sites, but it warns its residents against gambling with unlicensed sites.

Online casino regulators test the odds for fairness and issue compliance records alongside ensuring that encryption protocols are working correctly.