Cagayan Special Economic Zone And Freeport

The area located on the northeastern tip of the big island of Luzon is known as the Cagayan Valley and is home to one of the primary Philippines gambling jurisdictions. With the Philippines considered one of the most viable emerging markets for gambling entertainment, we felt that it would be beneficial to provide information about the regions responsible for regulatory oversight of the betting market in the island nation. The Cagayan Valley is made up of 5 provinces and 4 major cities. The Cagayan province is one of the earliest provinces and consist of the Babuyan islands just to the north. The Cagayan province has its own rules and regulations for economic development in the northeastern area of the country.

In 1995, the Republic Act 7922 established the Cagayan Special Economic Zone and Freeport. It gave power to regulate and operate under a different set of rules to stimulate economic growth in the Cagayan-Freeport, and surrounding island areas. Act 7922 established jurisdiction and allowed for the Cagayan Valley to have their own set of laws regarding any form of gambling and not subject to regulations set forth by the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR). Our Philippine gambling laws section is a great tool for becoming familiar with particular laws in certain regions of the Philippines. Currently there are only 2 land-based casinos in the Cagayan Special Economic Zone and Freeport, but most of their licensing comes from online operators based in the Cagayan Valley. One day the Cagayan-Freeport zone is expected to develop into a transshipment point for trade with other Asian countries because of its proximity to Hong Kong, The Republic of China, Taiwan, Japan and South Korea.

CEZA - Cagayan Economic Zone Authority

The Republic Act 7922 also created the authority agency Cagayan Economic Zone Authority (CEZA) and gave them executive power over the Cagayan Special Economic Zone and Freeport. CEZA is a government owned and controlled corporation that is tasked with mandating the economic zone and turning it into a self-sustaining industrial, commercial, financial and recreational center for the Cagayan Valley area. Giving its geographical location and the fact that it is on the Asian shipping trade route, CEZA has big plans for economic growth that begins with a massive international ship yard to support trade among neighboring Asian nations. They are also developing an airport in hopes to one day attract more tourism and potential investors to the area. The plan is to develop the area enough to include multiple casino resorts, golf courses, and even a theme park to attract tourism and commerce.

Cagayan Casinos and Landscapes

There are currently only 2 land-based casinos in the Cagayan Special Economic Zone. They are both smaller casinos located in the Santa Ana area and only recently started allowing Filipino's in. However, residents can legally play offshore licensed online casinos, Philippine legal online sports betting sites and Philippine legal online poker rooms. Most of the area is still undeveloped and tucked away between mountains and natural forest. CEZA’s main goal right now is to get the airport running and the ship yard complete so they can build trade and commerce. They are currently seeking economic investors for a proposed tourism and leisure complex and have plans to open more casinos, sporting facilities, nature trails, hotels and more but first must develop a bigger power grid, bigger water supply, more sufficient roads and bigger telecommunication facilities. The northern coast of the Cagayan Valley region is covered with sandy white beaches connected to woodland areas. There are over 20 rivers and 3 watersheds with mountains covering most of the eastern coast. For our readers in the Cagayan Valley, our guide for Philippine legal online casinos and Philippine friendly mobile casinos is a good place to find online casinos that will accept Filipino players, these online gambling destinations will provide secure, high quality gambling entertainment until and after the first casino moves into the Cagayan Valley.

First Cagayan Resort and Leisure Corporation

The Cagayan Economic Zone Authority (CEZA) uses the First Cagayan Resort and Leisure Corporation (FCRLC) as the primary company to issue offshore online gambling licenses to companies operating in the Cagayan Special Economic Zone and plans to use them for other gaming development plans. They regulate and monitor all activities consisting of operating and licensing of interactive games on behalf of CEZA. The FCRLC also has a list of other responsibilities including:

  • Check references to applicants wishing to obtain an offshore license.
  • Protect customers by maintaining industry regulations on software and games of chance.
  • Maintain telecommunication infrastructure and internet connectivity.
  • Monitor game payouts.
  • Make certain all transaction records are obtainable for inspection if requested by officials.
  • Collect all fees for CEZA.
  • Enforce rules and regulations mandated by CEZA.

FCRLC is not under PAGCOR’s regulations and until recently they were the only government agency to issue licenses for online gambling houses.

Gambling Geography

Right now there are only 2 brick-and-mortar casinos in the Cagayan Valley but there are plans to build more one day soon. The Eastern Hawaii Casino, and the Cagayan Holiday and Leisure Resort are the only casinos currently operating in the Cagayan Special Economic Zone. CEZA mainly issues licenses via FCRLC to domestic online casinos and earn revenue by charging a hosting fee. A few years ago, The First Cagayan Resort and Leisure Corporation (FCLRC) had over 140 online licenses that they regulated with their servers but since PAGCOR has launched their Philippine Offshore Gaming Operator (POGO) which is also a licensing regime, the FCLRC has had their licenses reduced to about 100 in operation.

Online Casino Licenses

The First Cagayan Resort and Leisure Corporation (FCRLC) is the authorized master licencor. The FCRLC offers many different online gaming licenses including, casino, sports betting and lottery licenses. To obtain a license from FCRLC there is an application process. The process consists of filling out an application and attaching requested forms for review by First Cagayan. There is a $200.00 (USD) annual registration fee to be a registered enterprise with CEZA and FCRLC. If an application is accepted it generally takes about 30 days to obtain the license from FCRLC. The only restrictions on the terms of the license is that bets can only be accepted from offshore and only on foreign events. A registered enterprise from the Philippines can only accept offshore players and wagers in events that are not located within the Philippines. Breaking the regulations will result in a license revoke and fines up to $40,000 (USD). For a full detailed list of rules and regulations check out the official Cagayan Economic Zone & Free Port Interactive Gaming Rules and Regulations.