The First Cagayan Resort & Leisure Corporation (FCRLC) was created by the Cagayan Economic Zone Authority (CEZA) to be the master licensor and regulator of all gambling entities in the Cagayan Special Economic Zone and Freeport. Since its commencement, the FCRLC has been responsible for issuing licenses to different gambling operations on behalf of CEZA, with the hopes of one day expanding those operations into domestic Cagayan valley casinos. As the master licensor the FCRLC’s purpose is:
- To operate, manage and supervise gaming activities.
- Lease tourism-related facilities.
- Establish and set up a network operation center.
- Maintain telecommunication facilities.
- Regulate and monitor on behalf of CEZA.
Are FCRLC Casinos Legally Allowed To Offer Online Games To Filipino’s?
No, The FCRLC must abide by national Philippine Gambling Laws. Executive Order No. 13 states that no domestically licensed online gambling entity will allow Filipino’s to gamble on their sites. It is also illegal for gambling establishments to accept bets on any Philippine events. Recently the President enacted the Republic Act No. 10927 which requires domestic and online casinos now keep detailed records of their players and transactions. This law is to protect the casinos from money laundering schemes but consequently makes the gambling laws tougher for casino operators. Our guide to Philippine legal online casinos can be used as a resource for players looking for legal online casinos in the Cagayan Special Economic Zone.
FCRLC’s Legal Responsibilities
Being the master licensor of the Cagayan Special Economic Zone the FCRLC has a responsibility to their fee-paying licensees. These responsibilities include but are not limited to:
- Making sure applicants have no criminal record.
- Confirming software and specific games of chance conform to all regulations.
- Maintaining telecommunication infrastructure and internet connectivity.
- Monitoring game payouts.
- Making sure complete records of transactions are available for inspection.
- Collecting fees due to CEZA.
- Enforcing CEZA’s rules and regulations.
On top of their operating and regulation purposes, they are also responsible for facilities and activities that include games, internet games, recreational sports, golf courses and more. The FCRLC has a lot on their agenda but they have been handling it well since they were established by CEZA in the year 2000.
Legal Casinos Under CEZA Regulations
As of now, there are only two small brick-and-mortar casinos in the Cagayan Special Economic Zone: The Cagayan Holiday and Leisure Resort, and the Eastern Hawaii Casino. Both casinos were off limits to Filipino’s until 2010. Most of the FCRLC’s licensing is issued to Filipino online casino operators who offer their games to offshore markets. Since the operators in the Cagayan Special Economic Zone are restricted by Philippine gambling laws, they are not allowed to offer their online services to Filipino’s. To obtain a license from the FCRLC operators must be located within the Cagayan Special Economic Zone. In 2016, the FCRLC had approximately 150 online licenses that they were responsible for issuing and regulating.
Does The FCRLC Fall Under PAGCOR’s Supervision?
No, The FCRLC has their own special economic zone in which they regulate. The Cagayan Special Economic Zone and the Cagayan Economic Zone Authority (CEZA) were both established by Republic Act 7922 in 1995. CEZA then in turn established the FCRLC in the year 2000, to be the master licensor for the Cagayan economic zone. The Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) regulates most of the country but not the Cagayan Special Economic Zone. Both regulatory agencies must abide by Philippine gambling laws but are free to issue their own gambling licenses.
Is The FCRLC The Only Government Entity To Issue Legal Online Casino Licenses?
No, until recently they were the only licensor to issue online licenses in the Philippines but in 2017 PAGCOR started their Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators (POGO) licensing. This caused many of the FCRLC’s licensees who also had operations in bigger cities like Manila City to switch to a POGO license. In 2017, PAGCOR issued 37 POGO licenses.
FCRLC’s Licensing Revenue
The Cagayan Special Economic Zone was created so that the Cagayan Valley, Freeport, and surrounding islands could create their own revenue and build tourism-related entities. The FCRLC uses the revenue obtained from their gaming licenses to maintain telecommunication services and build other important infrastructure needs necessary to attract tourism.
FCRLC’s Fee-Based Services
Another way the FCRLC obtains revenue is from other fee-based services. Since they are a government agency they have access to certain capabilities that most independent entrepreneurs don’t have access to. Some of their services include housing of servers, monitoring and maintenance services for the internet infrastructure, call center services, facility management, server management, network monitoring, and value-added services such as web monitoring and traffic analysis. These are just a few of the added services that they charge for to increase revenue for the Cagayan economic zone.
How To Obtain A License From FCRLC
To obtain a license you must be a CEZA registered enterprise. Business can apply and after all the required documents are approved there is a $200 (USD) annual registration fee for obtaining a FCRLC license. Once everything is approved and the registration fee is paid it takes about 30 days for a business to acquire the license. Licenses are only valid for 1 year from the issued date and are not allowed to change ownership.
– For further information visit the First Cagayan Resort & Leisure Corporation‘s official website.