Online Gamblers in China Creating PH Property Market Boom

Philippine property is seeing a lot of action lately thanks to Chinese gamblers.

Online gambling operations within China’s are strictly prohibited, but the law does not prevent Chinese online gambling operators, who are located outside the country and located offshore, from offering services to rich mainlanders from Macau and all over China.

In 2017, ₱9.68 billion of the ₱152.5 billion total gambling revenue generated by the Philippines came from online gambling, rising 14percent from 2016.

Many experts believe the increase is due in large part because companies from China, who moved to the Philippines to operate legally, are heavily influencing the meteoric rise in the online gambling industry in the country.

In 2014, Beijing started to crack down on casinos in Macau to stop operators from letting illegal money flow through them and to slow the amount of money coming from the mainland due to the declining value of the yuan.

President Rodrigo Duterte has a history of being against gambling, but recent improvements with Beijing and Manila relations have catapulted the growth and value of Philippines property – almost solely because of Chinese gambling operators, allowing Filipinos to grab a huge portion of the Asian online gambling market share.

Chinese online gambling companies are causing a rental and real estate boom in the Philippines, especially in Manila, and experts estimate that between 100,000 and 200,000 people have been bought from gambling operators and given to members of their workforce.

As of September 2018, 42,000 housing units were currently under construction in Manilla after being pre-sold to Chinese gambling firms –up from 38,000 units sold in 2017.

When it comes to Manila’s office space, Chinese gambling companies operated in only 80,000sq m. in 2016.

However, by the end of 2017, Chinese online casino and sportsbook facilities accounted for 296,000 of the 775,000sq m available in Manila, resulting in online gambling operators from China offering services in more than a third of locations in the business sector within the Philippines capital.

Janlo de los Reyes, who is the head of research and consultancy at JLL Philippines, has a theory to why this is happening across the country.

“These mainland Chinese companies, especially online gaming operators, are driving the office leasing activity, backed by the cheaper rents in the Philippines,” said Janlo de los Reyes. “These operators typically occupy multiple floors of office buildings and buy in bulk at residential condominium developments as dwellings for their employees.”

Arch Capital CEO and Chief Investment Officer Richard Yue said he believes the outlook for investing into properties in the Philippines is heading in a positive direction thanks in large part to mainland Chinese gambling companies setting up operations with the country – creating investment opportunities for not only China but for countries around the world as well.

“The recent Chinese investment or commitment to invest in the Philippines adds to the confidence of foreign investors, said Yue.

He added: “While it did not play a direct role in our own activities, it contributes to building a generally favorable investment environment.”