Rodrigo Duterte, the controversial president of the Philippines, has always maintained an anti-gambling stance. He has pushed to limit gambling activities in the country for years. New reports indicate that Duterte’s opinion on gambling may finally be changing.
It’s great news for both gambling fans and operators inside the Philippines. We’re going to take a closer look at why exactly Duterte is changing his stance. We’ll also discuss what this means for the gambling industry here moving forward.
The history of gambling in the Philippines is unique. In 1976, the PAGCOR group was created here to oversee gambling activities in the country. This government body is responsible for monitoring and licensing all gambling companies operating in the Philippines.
Casinos are legal in the Philippines. PAGCOR runs nearly half of all land-based casinos in the country. Foreign casino operators must gain approval from the government and pay heavy tax fees.
Online gambling laws here are constantly changing. On the surface, it appears that Filipinos are banned from making bets over the internet. There are, however, hundreds of legal e-game stations spread around the country. In 2012, the Filipino Court of Appeals issued a ruling that foreign gambling sites can be accessed by Filipino players.
In the Cagayan Freeport area, numerous independent casinos are available to foreigners. Unlike other parts of the country, this area allows Filipinos to operate their own gambling websites. Online gambling in the Philippines is growing more popular every single year. So, why is Duterte softening his stance on the industry?
Rodrigo Duterte has never been a fan of gambling. According to Reuters, he famously claimed to “hate gambling” and has worked to curb any efforts towards gambling expansion. This week, Duterte states that his campaign against gambling is over.
“That gambling-gambling, I will not meddle with it anymore, just do not enter. I cannot control it, really… I will let you in, but not extortion or drugs,” he said in a recent campaign rally. It’s clear that the President recognized his efforts against the gaming industry is failing.
“I am not trying to encourage you… I cannot stop it anyway and I know I am lacking,” he claimed.
This may be due to the massive revenue earnings that the Philippines earns from the casino industry. Analysts predict that the casino industry here will grow by 9% by the end of 2019. The government is earning millions every single month through these operations.
Not long ago, Duterte stopped PAGCOR from issuing any new licenses to casino operators. It seems likely that this will now change. Within a few months, we may see the government body accept a number of new operators throughout the country.
Despite Duterte’s opinion on gambling, this industry is continuing to grow. Casinos here are bringing in record-revenue figures thanks to a slowdown of gaming operations in Macau. Even countries like Cambodia are investing heavily in their casino industries.
The fact that Duterte is stopping his fight against gambling is great news for operators in the country. As we just mentioned, it’s very likely that PAGCOR will soon begin issuing new casino licenses. Gambling revenue here will increase as a result.
It’s unclear whether or not online gambling laws in the Philippines will change. Aside from Cagayan, Filipinos do not have the ability to launch their own online gambling companies. If Duterte is truly open to gambling expansion, these laws may shift.
The Philippines’ gambling industry is in a great position now. With Macau’s revenue earnings fluctuating, this may be the perfect time for the Philippines’ casino industry to become a real competitor. For now, we’ll have to wait until PAGCOR actually begins issuing new casino licenses.
Are you happy that Duterte’s opinion on gambling is changing? Will we see this country’s casino industry expand this year? Let us know what you think in the comment section below!
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