The Philippines has long stood by its insistence that the country’s POGO marketplace – aimed at Chinese players who cannot legally gamble online in their own nation – would remain in operation despite Beijing’s efforts to shutter the industry.
However, the tide of public option on Chinese online gambling appears to be turning.
Unfortunately, this shift is not predicated on a change in China’s perspectives on accessible gambling or individual freedom. Instead, calls for renewed interest in online gambling within the Chinese communist government are spreading due to fears surrounding the recent and ongoing coronavirus outbreak.
Earlier this week, for example, coronavirus infections in Macau forced the temporary closure of all the region’s many casinos, sending the world’s most profitable gambling district to a grinding halt. Worse, the shutdown will last a minimum of two weeks – the deadly virus’ reported incubation period – and could last much longer.
Per Macau Chief Executive Ho Lat Seng, there was no other sensible choice, despite the major financial downswing attached to the move.
“It was a hard decision, but we must make it for the health of Macau residents. Macau can still withstand economic losses. … If the situation is stable after half a month, we can immediately resume [gambling activities].”
All this, of course, has given new credence to the idea of legal online casinos – and not just in China.
Indeed, the Philippines are near enough to the outbreak to be potentially affected, especially as the country has a tremendous amount of Chinese tourism and immigration.
While the coronavirus has not caused much panic or any venue closures in the islands, that contingency is not out of the question. And in the Philippines, much like in China, there are no domestic online gambling options for residents and citizens.
Of course, it isn’t only fears of coronavirus that make online gaming a sensible option in any densely populated city. For example, just 45 miles south of Entertainment City, the Taal Volcano has been spewing ash into the skies and casting a heavy pall over the otherwise bustling gambling district.
Whether disease or disaster, these kinds of events put a major strain on physical brick-and-mortar casino operators, as well as ancillary service providers like food vendors, hotels, massage parlors, bars, and nightclubs.
One solution – at least for the casinos in question in both the Philippines and Macau – is for these venues to have complementary income channels via legalized online gaming.
While the gambling laws would have to change in both nations to allow domestic Internet access to real money slots, table games, and poker, public consensus seems to be favoring that avenue in light of these recent hardships.
That said, legislation takes time, and things like coronavirus and volcanoes don’t wait around for people to debate and pass laws. If you’re an active gambler in either region, it’s up to you to be proactive and keep yourself and your family out of harm’s way. That’s why we recommend using other legitimate options, namely legal offshore casinos like BetOnline or Intertops.
When you gamble online, you can limit both your physical and financial exposure. Remember, staying safe is always your best bet.