Gambling in Metro Manila

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Okada Manila under construction in Entertainment City, March 2017

Gambling in Metro Manila has been regulated since 1976 when the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) was created through Presidential Decree 1067.[1] Under its charter promulgated in 1983, the 100% state-owned PAGCOR, running under the direct supervision of the Office of the President, serves three crucial roles: to regulate and operate all games of chance in the country, particularly casino gaming; generate funds for the government's infrastructure and socio-civic projects; and boost local tourism.[2][3]

Prior to 1976, illegal gambling dominated the Philippines as unlicensed casinos and underground bookmaking operations were opened across the country. Illegal forms of gambling included jueteng, masiao and last two.[4] Among the few lawful gambling activities in those days were church-organised bingo sessions and jai alai wagering at the Manila Jai Alai Building.[5]

In 1977, PAGCOR opened its first casino, The Manila Bay Casino, a floating casino which operated in all three decks of luxury liner MS Philippine Tourist off Manila Bay in partnership with the Philippine Casino Operators Corporation (PCOC) and Manila Bay Enterprises, Inc. (MBEI) which was majority owned by the Sociedade de Turismo e Diversões de Macau of casino magnate, Stanley Ho.[6][7] When a fire gutted the ship in 1979, PAGCOR shifted its operations to land-based casinos.[8] By the end of that year, the Philippine Village Hotel built in 1974 at the old Nayong Pilipino complex adjacent to the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) became home to the city's first land-based casino.[7][9]

Casino gambling[edit]

Metro Manila currently has around twenty casinos, most of which are located near the Manila Bay area and the NAIA airport in Parañaque.[10][11] Most casinos in the city are operated by PAGCOR under the Casino Filipino brand. Gambling in Manila now takes place primarily in luxury casino hotels and integrated resorts located in Entertainment City and Newport City under license from PAGCOR.[12]

The Casino Filipino Pavilion at the Waterfront Manila Pavilion (former Holiday Inn Manila Pavilion) is Manila's oldest surviving casino which opened in 1986.[13] The city's largest stand-alone casino was Casino Filipino Airport housed in the PRIC Building on Ninoy Aquino Avenue formerly occupied by Duty Free Philippines until 1997 but was closed down in July 2014.[8][14][15] In 2009, Resorts World Manila, the Philippines' first integrated resort, was built on a portion of Villamor Air Base in Pasay across from NAIA Terminal 3. The city's newest casino is the $2.4-B Okada Manila completed in December 2016 in Entertainment City, the third of four billion-dollar casinos to rise in Manila's gaming strip.[16]

Current casinos[11][17]
Casino District City Type Comments
Casino Filipino Binondo Binondo City of Manila Stand-alone
Casino Filipino Citystate Ermita City of Manila Stand-alone
Casino Filipino Malabon Malabon Stand-alone
Casino Filipino Santa Cruz Santa Cruz City of Manila Stand-alone
Casino Filipino Universal Santa Cruz City of Manila Stand-alone Casino Filipino VIP Club
City of Dreams Manila Entertainment City Parañaque Resort The second integrated resort to open in Entertainment City
Club Tropicana Las Piñas Almanza Las Piñas Stand-alone PAGCOR Club
Club Tropicana Santa Mesa Santa Mesa City of Manila Stand-alone PAGCOR Club
Empire Poker Sports Club Ortigas Center Pasig Card room
Lancaster Hotel Ortigas Center Mandaluyong Hotel casino Casino Filipino VIP Club
Madison Square Garden Hotel & Casino Barangka Ilaya Mandaluyong Hotel casino Casino Filipino VIP Club
Malabon Grand Hotel Potrero Malabon Hotel casino PAGCOR Club
Manila Grand Opera Hotel and Casino Santa Cruz City of Manila Hotel casino
Master Poker Sports Club Bel-Air Village Makati Card room
Metro Card Club Ortigas Center Pasig Card room
Midas Hotel & Casino San Rafael Pasay Hotel casino Formerly Hyatt Regency. PAGCOR Club
Midas Touch Poker Sports Club Oranbo Pasig Card room
Networld Hotel Spa & Casino San Isidro Pasay Hotel casino PAGCOR Club (Majestic)
New World Manila Bay Hotel & Casino Malate City of Manila Hotel casino Formerly Hyatt Regency Hotel & Casino Manila
Okada Manila Entertainment City Parañaque Resort The third integrated resort to open in Entertainment City
Resorts World Manila Newport City Pasay Resort The first integrated resort in the Philippines
Sheraton Manila Bay Malate City of Manila Hotel casino Formerly Pan Pacific Manila. PAGCOR Club (Adriatico Square)
Sofitel Philippine Plaza Hotel CCP Complex Pasay Hotel casino Casino Filipino VIP Club
Solaire Resort & Casino Entertainment City Parañaque Resort The first integrated resort to open in Entertainment City
Waterfront Manila Pavilion Hotel & Casino Ermita City of Manila Hotel casino Formerly Manila Hilton & Holiday Inn Manila Pavilion. Casino Filipino Pavilion VIP Club
Winford Hotel and Casino Santa Cruz City of Manila Hotel casino An ₱8 billion hotel-casino complex developed by the Manila Jockey Club, Inc. in San Lazaro Tourism and Business Park.[18]
Casinos under construction
Casino District City Type Comments
NayonLanding Entertainment City Parañaque Resort A US$1.5 billion integrated resort by Hong Kong-based Landing International Development that also includes a theme park originally slated for completion in 2022. Project is currently stalled due to five-year moratorium on new casinos in Entertainment City.[19][20]
Solaire North Triangle Park Quezon City Resort Bloomberry Resorts and Hotels' second casino complex in Metro Manila at Vertis North, Quezon City Central Business District.[21]
Westside City Resorts World (previously named Resorts World Bayshore) Entertainment City Parañaque Resort Genting Group's second integrated resort in Manila to open in 2021.[22][23]

Closed casinos[edit]

  • Casino Filipino Airport (closed 2014)[15]
  • Casino Filipino Heritage Hotel (closed 2013)[24]
  • Grand Boulevard Hotel & Casino, formerly Silahis International Hotel (closed 2008)[25]
  • Philippine Village Hotel Casino (closed 2001)[26]
  • Manila Bay Casino (closed 1979)[8]

Sports gambling[edit]

Sports betting has a long history in the Philippines. Popular forms of legalized sports gambling include betting on cockfighting, jai alai and horseracing. Sabong, as how cockfighting is known locally, has been hugely popular even prior to Spanish colonization in 1521. It was legalized and regulated in the early 18th century as a source of revenue for the Spanish colonial government. In 1854, the Tondo cockpit in Manila generated as much as 80,000 Mexican silver dollars for the government. By 1861, a new series of regulations were passed which permitted it to be held on Sundays and holidays, including town fiestas.[27][28] The sport remains popular today and is regulated by the Philippine Gamefowl Commission created in 1981 under the Games and Amusement Board.[29]

The Games and Amusement Board also regulates jai alai and horseracing operations as well as off-track bookmaking stations in the country. Jai alai was first introduced in the Philippines in 1899 with some of the earlier games played in the Casino Español de Manila. In 1939, the games shifted to the Manila Jai Alai Building.[30] Jai alai was temporarily banned in 1986 because of problems with game fixing. The building was subsequently torn down in 2000.[31] By March 2010, however, jai alai returned to the country with the games now being played in a fronton in Santa Ana, Cagayan.[32]

Betting on other competitive sports such as boxing, basketball, football and tennis is also possible through licensed sportsbook MegaSportsWorld that has several branches in Metro Manila and a telephone service.[33]

Online gambling[edit]

PAGCOR operates 102 e-Games stations throughout Metro Manila.[34] An e-Games station is an internet café that allows customers to play casino games online.[35] In addition, there are 12 e-Games sites in the metropolis operated by BigGame, Inc. (BGI), a subsidiary of PhilWeb Corporation, under license from PAGCOR.[36] As of August 10, 2016, the e-Games outlets operated by PhilWeb were closed following the non-renewal of its license by PAGCOR.[37]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Presidential Decree No. 1067-A". Chan Robles Virtual Law Library. Retrieved 28 August 2014.
  2. ^ "Presidential Decree No. 1869, s. 1983". Official Gazette of the Republic of the Philippines. Retrieved 28 August 2014.
  3. ^ "Billion $ paradise – Manila stakes its claim". Macau Business. Archived from the original on 23 February 2015. Retrieved 28 August 2014.
  4. ^ Joselito Guianan Chan, Managing Partner, Chan Robles & Associates Law Firm (2004-04-02). "Philippine Laws, Statutes And Codes – Chan Robles Virtual Law Library". Retrieved 2013-09-28.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  5. ^ "Betting in the Philippines". Retrieved 28 August 2014.
  6. ^ "Philippine Gambling is 'Kept at Bay'". The Times-News. Retrieved 28 August 2014.
  7. ^ a b "Back in Business". Newsbreak. Retrieved 29 August 2014.
  8. ^ a b c "G.R. No. 132929. March 27, 2000". Supreme Court of the Philippines. Retrieved 28 August 2014.
  9. ^ "About the Association of Human Resources Managers". AHRM Hospitality. Retrieved 29 August 2014.
  10. ^ "Economics and morals of gambling". The Manila Times. Retrieved 17 September 2014.
  11. ^ a b "Philippines Casinos & Gambling". World Casino Directory. Retrieved 17 September 2014.
  12. ^ "Pagcor lowers license fees for operators". Manila Bulletin. Archived from the original on 2 April 2015. Retrieved 17 September 2014.
  13. ^ "Casino Filipino Pavilion". PAGCOR. Retrieved 28 August 2014.
  14. ^ "History". Duty Free Philippines. Retrieved 29 August 2014.
  15. ^ a b "Pagcor to shut down airport casino in July". Manila Standard Today. Retrieved 12 September 2014.
  16. ^ Kelley, M. (29 December 2016). "Casino operations start December 30th for Okada Manila". World Casino Directory. Retrieved 5 January 2017.
  17. ^ "PAGCOR VIP Clubs". Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation. Retrieved 13 April 2019.
  18. ^ "Another casino rising in the heart of gridlocked Manila". Interaksyon. Archived from the original on 1 June 2015. Retrieved 30 May 2015.
  19. ^ Venzon, Cliff (26 July 2018). "Hong Kong group to build Manila casino despite Duterte ban". Nikkei Asian Review. Retrieved 13 April 2019.
  20. ^ Blaschke, Ben (1 April 2019). "Jeju revenue climbs in 2018 but Landing still in the dark on Philippines IR development". Inside Asian Gaming. Retrieved 13 April 2019.
  21. ^ Francia, Arra (12 April 2019). "Bloomberry to break ground on QC resort-casino in June". BusinessWorld. Retrieved 13 April 2019.
  22. ^ "Alliance Global sees 2018 opening of Resorts World Bayshore". Manila Standard Today. Retrieved 17 September 2014.
  23. ^ Loyola, James (27 February 2018). "Megaworld hikes capex for Westside City project in Parañaque to P121 B". Manila Bulletin. Retrieved 10 April 2019.
  24. ^ "Heritage Hotel to close casino". ABS-CBN News. Retrieved 28 August 2014.
  25. ^ "Manila takes over hotel on Roxas Boulevard". Philippine Daily Inquirer. Archived from the original on 8 May 2014. Retrieved 28 August 2014.
  26. ^ "Philippine Village Hotel ordered to vacate Nayong Pilipino Grounds". Coconuts Newsletter. Retrieved 4 September 2014.
  27. ^ Dundes, Alan (1994). The Cockfight: A Casebook. University of Wisconsin Press. ISBN 9780299140540. Retrieved 17 September 2014.
  28. ^ Carpio; et al. (1998). My Country and My People. Rex Bookstore. ISBN 9789712322549. Retrieved 17 September 2014.
  29. ^ "Presidential Decree No. 1802". Chan Robles Virtual Law Library. Retrieved 17 September 2014.
  30. ^ De Borja, Marciano (2005). Basques in the Philippines. University of Nevada Press. ISBN 9780874175905. Retrieved 17 September 2014.
  31. ^ "Remember jai alai: Stop making Manila heritage demolition victim". Philippine Daily Inquirer. Retrieved 22 September 2014.
  32. ^ "Cagayan hosts jai-alai return". Philippine Star. Retrieved 22 September 2014.
  33. ^ "About MegaSportsWorld". Retrieved 22 September 2014.
  34. ^ "E-Games Locations: NCR". PAGCOR e-Games. Retrieved 22 September 2014.
  35. ^ "Why we are your best bet". BigGame, Inc. Retrieved 22 September 2014.
  36. ^ "BigGame Casino Sites". BigGame, Inc. Retrieved 22 September 2014.
  37. ^ Dela Paz, C. (9 August 2016). "PhilWeb to close e-Games outlets despite Ongpin resignation". Rappler. Retrieved 11 August 2016.

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