How the Philippines Became Asia’s Casino Capital

The Philippines is slowly becoming Asia’s leading casino destination. Unlike its neighbors, where gambling laws are strict, the Philippines has embraced the industry. As you can read on the Сasinosonline, the Philippines also has a growing online presence within gambling too.

This open stance has allowed business to go on, and travelers to explore this world in an Asian setting.

Regional Context

In nearby countries like Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand – all of which have varying religious backgrounds – gambling is largely illegal. Malaysia and Indonesia impose severe penalties on gambling activities. In Thailand, strict anti-gambling laws only allow state-run lotteries and horse race betting. In other words, there are no casinos. These restrictions have driven travelers and gamblers alike to seek alternatives.

The Philippines offers a stark contrast in comparison. It has permissive gambling regulations that are unique to its region. In part due to a different religious and value system, but also due to its perceived economic and tourism benefits, the Philippines has positioned itself as a fun casino vacation.

Emergence as a Casino Hub

The growth of the Philippines’ casino industry began with the establishment of PAGCOR (Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation) in 1977. PAGCOR’s role as a regulatory body basically laid the foundation for a regulated industry that has some structure. A significant milestone was the development of Entertainment City, a big gaming and entertainment complex in Metro Manila that caught a lot of attention.

Major casino establishments, such as City of Dreams Manila, Solaire Resort & Casino, Okada Manila, and Resorts World Manila, have since become big attractions – for foreigners too. These resorts combine luxury accommodations, gaming, dining, and entertainment in a similar way to Las Vegas. In other words, it’s a comprehensive experience for visitors.

Government initiatives which includes tax incentives and infrastructure improvements, have further boosted the industry’s growth.

Gambling Tourism

Gambling tourism plays some role in the Philippines’ economy, though it’s not often given much attention. In 2019, the country welcomed over 8 million international tourists, but it’s difficult to pinpoint exactly how many were driven by the casino complexes. What we do know is that over 5,000,000 flew into Manilla, and more people claimed warm hospitality was the reason for the visit than the beautiful scenery.

What we also know is that the City of Dreams in Manilla, a casino complex resort, made $42 million profit in 2023 – so, clearly the industry is not struggling in these post-pandemic times. Bloomberry, which owns Solaire Resort & Casino, is also seeing a rampant success that is exceeding pre-pandemic levels of profitability.

The presence of world-class casinos has undoubtedly enhanced the country’s appeal as a tourist destination, contributing to its growing reputation as a classy casino vacation.

Economic Impact

The gambling industry is a significant contributor to the Philippine economy too. In 2019, it generated approximately PHP 256 billion in gross gaming revenue. This revenue has had a substantial impact on the country’s economic growth.

The casino industry also provides substantial employment opportunities. In 2019, it directly employed over 132,000 people, with many more employed indirectly in related sectors. When compared to traditional sectors like agriculture, the gaming industry has proven to be a more lucrative and steady source of income and employment.


The Philippines has successfully positioned itself as Asia’s casino capital. What is surprising is that many people just don’t know it yet.

As the industry continues to grow, the Philippines is set to maintain its status as a leading destination for casino enthusiasts.

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