Report Indicates Philippines Will License Online Casino

5 July 2000
According to an article published today in the Straits Times Interactive, online gamblers could be saddling up to virtual tables at an Internet Casino based in the Philippines within the next month.

The Philippine government has reportedly granted Sports and Games Entertainment Corp (SAGE), a two-year old gaming company, a license to operate an online casino that will open its virtual doors sometime in August. According to the Straits Times, the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp (Pagcor), a government-controlled agency that has exclusive franchise to run gambling operations in the Philippines, will get 20 percent of the new site's gross revenues in return for granting the company the right to operate the site.

The site--available in English, Mandarin, Cantonese, Japanese, Thai, Korean, Spanish and French--will feature blackjack, craps, mini baccarat, roulette, Sic Bo, Premier slots, Atlantis slots, video poker and video keno. Minimum bets will range from US$1 to US$25. They will preliminarily accept credit cards and pre-paid cards as methods of payment.

The Roman Catholic church, meanwhile, is expected to adamantly oppose the move as it has other expansions of gambling in the Philippines.

The Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office, the state-run lottery agency, has announced the eminent launching of "Super Lotto' and is said to be planning to introduce a variation of the popular yet illegal numbers game called "jueteng' later this year. Additionally, proposals to legalize jueteng, allow online betting for cockfights and introduce the Japanese gambling sport keirin are awaiting congressional approval.

SAGE made waves in the interactive gaming arena in March when it signed a deal with AB Leisure Exponents Inc. (a subsidiary of Leisure & Resorts World Corp.) to jointly operate commercial bingo and bingo-related games over the Internet.

IGN will report further details on the development when they become available.