The Philippine National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) is reporting another shutdown of an alleged illegal casino operation.
After receiving a tip and a warrant, the NBI swooped in on a Pampanga home and arrested 12 Chinese nationals that were working out of a residence. The group was operating without a license, a violation of Philippine gambling laws, and offering their services online to foreign markets such as China.
This is the second raid of the month on a Chinese illegal online gambling operation operating in the Philippines. In late November 2018, 93 Chinese nationals were also arrested for operating without a license.
It is no secret that China loves online gambling, and it seems many operators have found a haven in the Philippines to conduct their offshore operations. PAGCOR issued gambling licenses offered in the Philippines only allow domestic operators to offer their services to offshore markets, which works out fine for most Chinese online operators.
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has recently stated that the NBI and other authorities should show caution when conducting such raids on Chinese nationals. He fears that Filipinos working in China might face retaliation as a result of the raids.
Since the Philippines offer online gambling licenses and cheap rent, Chinese operators are currently flocking to the Philippines to set up shop. This has been going on over the past couple of years and has accumulated to create a substantial boost to the Philippine housing and commercial real estate market.
In China, there are only two areas that have legal domestic casinos; Macau and Hong Kong. Since both cities are located in a special administrative region they have their own set of laws that differ from the China mainland.
China is known to have tough gambling laws that ban everything not licensed or located in Macau or Hong Kong. However, most Chinese bettors prefer offshore online gambling sites because of the bonus offers and favorable payouts.
Today there are so many Chinese online gambling operators in the Philippines that it is widely accepted that most operators are from China, or service the China online gambling sector.