The local Philippine gambling scene is thriving. The nation is the most rapidly growing destination casino hub in Southeast Asia. There are several world-class casino resorts in the Philippines, most of which are concentrated in Luzon. Of course, you can find options for real-money domestic gambling in all Philippine regions. That’s true now more than ever, as nation has recently legalized online casino gambling and online sports betting for certain residents.
But even if you aren’t a “VIP,” you can safely and legally bet real money at offshore Philippine casinos instead of using local options. These sites are also open to players at just 18 and up, while local brick-and-mortar venues require all participants to be 21 or older. Of course, even if you do most of your gambling online through international channels, it’s still worth checking out all the entertaining retail casinos in the Philippines whenever you get the chance.
National And Regional Philippine Gambling Laws
There are 17 official “administrative regions” in the Philippines. For those living outside the islands – or for those about to travel to the islands – these regions are essentially “states.” The difference is that these regional governments are extensions of the national government, not their own sovereign districts.
As such, Philippine gambling laws apply to all regions throughout the three big island chains. Local municipalities and barangays do have a say on what kinds of gambling are tolerated in their immediate vicinities. However, but these concerns are bolstered by local civic and religious influences rather than local laws. As such, they can be overridden by PAGCOR and the greater Philippine government if deemed necessary for the national interest.
The one partial exception to this is found in Cagayan Province in northern Luzon. This area – called the Cagayan Special Economic Zone (CEZA) or Cagayan Freeport/Clark Freeport Zone – is a specially designated area designed as a self-sustaining commercial and tourism destination.
As such, the CEZA authorities have greater say when it comes to managing local Freeport casino and Freeport gambling projects. PAGCOR is still in charge of Cagayan casinos, but CEZA has a bit more leeway than most other regional authorities.
Philippine Casinos In Luzon
As the most populous island group in the Philippines, Luzon has the largest number of brick-and-mortar casinos in the country. The biggest and most popular of these venues are in Manila, where there’s a heavy emphasis on integrated resorts, or IRs.
These venues are similar in size and scope to the biggest and best Las Vegas casinos or Macau casinos, which should give you an idea of what to expect when gambling in Luzon.
Metro Manila, aka the Philippine National Capital Region (NCR), is the urban center of the nation. Naturally, it’s also a major tourist destination for both residents of the islands and international visitors, making Metro Manila gambling options attractive.
Manila is home to the top resort casinos in the Philippines, with the most luxurious venues comprising the famous Entertainment City casino district. Imagine the Vegas Strip in the USA, and you’ll get the idea.
Entertainment City – aka E-City – is the major tourist destination in Manila/Luzon. So much so, in fact, that it used to be called “Manila Bay Tourism City”! And once the region began expanding its gambling options – especially its major IR casinos – it was even briefly called “PAGCOR City.” This is the place for gambling tourists from all over the world.
Currently, there are three massive Entertainment City casinos up and running, with two more licensed venues under various stages of construction:
- Solaire Resort & Casino
- City of Dreams Manila
- Okada Manila
- Westside City Resorts World (under construction)
- NayonLanding (pending groundbreaking)
The Cagayan Valley is a major center of commerce and tourism in northern Luzon, and it’s the most “autonomous” local region in the Philippines. Cagayan Valley industry – including the Cagayan Valley gambling industry – is overseen by CEZA.
When it comes to the local Cagayan gambling market, PAGCOR ultimately remains in charge but gives a wide berth to CEZA administration. There are several casinos in Cagayan Valley, though these are slightly lesser venues than those found in Metro Manila.
Philippine Casinos In Visayas
Visayas – the central Philippine island cluster – is less of a tourist destination than Manila, but there are still plenty of things to do and see in the region. You can find several casinos in Visayas, including the famed Casino Filipino and the Waterfront Cebu City Hotel & Casino.
While these don’t attract as much international gambling attention, they do cater to some tourism and junket business. Locals are also able to gamble in these venues, although – just like anywhere else – they must meet certain financial requirements to be able to participate.
Philippine Casinos In Mindanao
Mindanao is the southernmost large island chain in the Philippines, and there are several casinos in the region. The most famous (or infamous) Mindanao casino is the Grand Imperial Casino in Misamis Oriental. Of course, tourists and locals alike are probably more interested in the various Davao City casinos (i.e. the Casino Filipino Davao, etc.).
If it’s your first trip to the Philippines, Mindanao casinos are likely to be somewhat near the bottom of your list of major gambling destinations, but they’re still worth checking out.
List Of Philippine Regions With Legal Gambling
With new Philippine casinos being constructed as the industry doubles down on gambling tourism in 2024, our Philippine casino list is necessarily a work in progress. We’ve included all 17 Philippine administrative regions here, but not all regions have active land-based casinos at this time.
Of course, with the nationwide rollout of limited online casino gambling (aka iGaming) and online sports betting via MegaSportsWorld (MSW), VIP players aged 21 and up have the option to gamble from literally any Philippine region.
Note: Official list of casinos in the Philippines is currently under construction.