After a disastrous 2020, the Philippine gambling industry has been approaching the new year with incredible enthusiasm.
Entertainment City construction projects have resumed, fresh resort casino investments are pouring in, and the market looks poised to pick up where it left off in 2019.
After all, before COVID, the Philippines was fast becoming the number-one holiday gambling destination in Southeast Asia.
But even though the future’s still bright for the region and that lofty goal as market leader is still well within its grasp, the timeline will have to be delayed once again.
That’s because the Duterte Administration has ordered new lockdowns for Metro Manila in the wake of a sudden uptick in local coronavirus cases.
While the Philippines, with a population north of 105 million people, has recorded fewer than 14,000 deaths across just under 800,000 COVID cases, the government is taking no chances as local hospital admissions are rising again.
In 2020, when the Manila casino closures first hit, this was extremely bad news for business. However, since that time, the nation has approved PIGOs – or Philippine Inland Gaming Operators – that are empowered to offer online casino games to residents of the islands.
This will mitigate losses in the short term, and the closures aren’t expected to last nearly as long as last time around, besides.
That said, PIGO access is still limited only to a small subset of Filipino gamblers. In order to qualify for legal domestic online gambling in the Philippines, one must be a “VIP” member of a brick-and-mortar casino that hosts these services.
That means that for rank-and-file residents – even those who occasionally gamble at Entertainment City IRs – there are no domestic options.
Fortunately, even as PIGOs are starting to gain traction, iGaming enthusiasts in the Philippines don’t have to wait.
No laws have been passed to date banning the use of offshore Philippines betting sites, and venues like BetOnline, SportsBetting AG, and 1xBit are safe, legal, established operators that accept all Filipino gamblers at 18 and up.
In fact, 1xBit – the newest entrant in the legal Philippines betting market – is especially intriguing, and now’s the perfect time to try it out.
The site is the first major offshore Philippines-friendly sportsbook and casino to exclusively accept cryptocurrencies for deposits. It’s also the first such gambling venue to streamline the registration process to a single click.
Signing up literally takes two seconds.
When you join 1xBit, you’ll be given a randomized username and password to write down, and you can opt to enter a recovery email address if you wish.
After that, all you have to do is make a deposit using any of the nearly 30 popular cryptocurrencies that 1xBit accepts. We recommend Litecoin (LTC) or Cardano (ADA), but heavy hitters like Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Ethereum, Ripple, Stellar, and other cryptos are also accepted.
After your 1xBit deposit goes through, you can get a host of international sports betting lines (including PBA basketball odds once the season finally starts in late April), as well as over 3000 RNG real-money online casino games made by the best developers in the industry.
Of course, the biggest draw of 1xBit for Filipino gamblers is the fact that the site is extremely meticulous about preserving players’ private information.
While online gambling is legal, popular, and socially accepted in the Philippines, many players still wish to go about their hobby privately and anonymously, and 1xBit is dedicated to this approach.
Clearly, for the national economy and the health of Philippine infrastructure and commercial development, it’s crucially important for the current Metro Manila quarantine closures to be as short-lived as possible.
And once the IRs open back up, it’ll be good to return to the gambling floors and enjoy the social experience of retail casino gaming.
But until then, if you want a fun and potentially profitable way to enjoy your favorite hobby and pass the time, offshore casinos are literally just a click or tap away.
We’ll see you at the digital felts.
And soon enough, we hope see you at the real ones, too!