There are great hopes that the Philippines will become a major gambling centre in Asia. Licences were granted by the Philippine authorities to enable major casino operators to develop four integrated casino resorts in Manila.

These integrated resorts will make up Manila’s casino area called Entertainment City. Gambling in most of the Philippines is regulated by the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation which is owned by the government.

The only area outside of the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation’s control is the special area in the north known as the Cagayan Economic Zone and Freeport. In this region gambling licences only cover the tourists staying in hotels in the area so in general Filipinos are not permitted to gamble in casinos there.

While the casino market was showing promise in 2012, the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation which runs its own gambling venues as well as licensing and regulating the industry had expected this growth to continue in 2013 but revenue from casinos was down when compared to the previous year.
However with the second casino resort in Entertainment City projected to open in mid 2014, the government owned agency is hoping for growth in 2014 to be over 5 per cent. It is believed that extra income would come in from fees linked to regulation and also to the enlarged casino market when Entertainment City’s next casino resort opens.
The Philippines has attracted investment from major international casino operators since the gambling market in Asia is booming especially when compared to traditional gambling centres in the United States. Revenue from Macau’s casinos was close to 40 billion dollars last year with Singapore’s industry bringing in 6 billion dollars.
It is thought that the Philippines gambling industry will greatly benefit over the next few years from the gradual opening of the four integrated casino resorts in Entertainment City.
At the moment the only casino open there since spring of 2013 is the Solaire Resort which is already making a profit. Melco Crown Entertainment’s City of Dreams resort is due to open in the middle of this year.
The other two integrated casino resorts in Entertainment City will be developed by Genting and a partnership between a Japanese group and a Filipino investor.