Poker is simply one of the most popular casino games in the world and this includes the Philippines. Today, let’s learn a bit more about the legal standpoint for online poker in the Philippines, the country’s state for gambling, and everything else in between.
Why the Philippines?
The Philippines, among many other Asian countries, are filled with many cultural wonders and riches. This country in particular is home to some of the world’s most hospitable people. And perhaps every single tourist would have to agree that the best bit about choosing to pay a visit (or even live here) in the Philippines is the cost of living.
You can go around for a stroll all day and everything from grabbing your breakfast, lunch, and dinner would all be possible with only $15 to $20 in your pocket. Everything is mostly cheap and inexpensive. So, you could only imagine how convenient this can get if you wish to spend a bit more on leisure and entertainment such as playing in a casino.
Is playing poker even legal in the Philippines?
The answer is yes. In fact, there are several major land-based casino companies that offer poker in the country. The majority of them are regulated by the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation or simply PAGCOR for short.
PAGCOR is the country’s governing body that is responsible for regulating the big casinos in the Philippines. Other casinos are instead handled by either outside or private enterprises. Some of the most popular land-based casino sites in the country are the Resorts World Manila, City of Dreams Manila, Okada Manila, and Midas Hotel and Casino.
But how about online poker or online gambling in particular? The answer is still yes. However, this only holds true if we’re talking about offshore gambling providers. The Philippine gambling laws do not allow any local operators to even offer any online gambling services to its civilians.
And for this reason, Filipinos are left with no other option but to play through offshore poker providers. What’s even worse, some of the online casinos, especially some big names in the industry, are still not yet made available in the country unless a VPN is used.
Philippines Poker Tournaments
Surprisingly, there are a handful of ways to play poker for real money and participate in some poker events and tournaments in the Philippines. However, don’t expect to see any Macau or Las Vegas-level of poker tournament kind of thing. It’s a lot simpler than that.
While it is often difficult, especially for a local, to even get into these tournaments at any casinos in Manila, the Philippines is home to the biggest tournaments for online poker. Cash tables, on the other hand, are just some of the minor tourneys you’ll find across land-based casinos.
Poker games available online
Back to playing poker online, which poker games are readily available over the internet? There are plenty of them. Amongst the many popular ones include Texas Hold ‘Em, Caribbean Stud, Studs Poker, Omaha, Horse, and many others. There are also several tourneys available across these games.
The great thing about these games is that a handful of these online poker games can be played for free. This helps inexperienced players to hone their skills prior to even playing the game for real with actual real money. Of course, experienced players can also test out new poker strategies while they’re at it.
Taxes on poker winnings in the Philippines
One more question that you probably have in mind is do you even have to pay taxes on poker winnings in the Philippines? Based on the Philippine gambling laws, it is mandatory for you to report all your earnings for gambling within your income during tax season.
But the reality is, it’s all up to you. No one has ever been put behind bars for not paying their gambling winnings. But, always keep in mind that one should always pay their taxes no matter what. Additionally, offshore online casinos and poker sites are not taxable in any way, shape, or form.