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The Dangers of Illegal Betting in the Philippines

857 views August 30, 2023
by TJ

Is Illegal Betting in the Philippines Dangerous?

Illegal betting in the Philippines is as dangerous as other criminal activity. 

Last June, at least 41,000 individuals involved in unlicensed gambling operations were apprehended, and that’s just the first half of 2023.

It might be understandable for Filipinos to engage in such activity since it offers “easy money.” But as far as the government is concerned, there is no such thing as “easy,” especially when we talk about regulated businesses.

Most Filipinos frown upon the idea of gambling. For some, it is a sin (63% say it’s morally wrong). However, if we look at the benefits the gambling industry offers, it contributes a huge portion of the country’s revenues (about P214 billion). 

Hence, the Philippine government allowed some gambling operators as long as they adhered to the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation’s (PAGCOR) rules. But there are still many unaccounted illegal betting operators in the Philippines, and these are the riskier ones.

What is illegal betting, you ask? In simpler terms, it is any form of gambling not allowed by the law in the country the operator resides in.

OKBet Illegal Betting in the Philippines

|Since the start of 2023, the Philippine National Police (PNP) has arrested about 41,000 individuals operating illegal gambling operations across the Philippines, according to the Philippine News Agency last Tuesday| 

Also, gambling games of chance or skill and playing at unsanctioned casinos even doubles the risk. Here are the reasons why they are dangerous:

  • Data might be compromised

Casino operators under PAGCOR must keep records of their players for only five years. Additionally, unregistered gambling websites resort to phishing and scams. If not careful enough, personal or financial information could fall into the wrong hands.

The danger of illegal betting in the Philippines and its potential to endanger others’ data caught the attention of Digital Pinoys. They say illegal gambling operators are the “most prevalent cause” of digital account compromise.

Moreover, the data of their players can be used to do whatever they want, taking the meaning of the word “poser” to a whole other level.

  • Unprotected Funds

The difference between legal and illegal betting in the Philippines boils down to their regulating body. A licensed gambling operator answers to PAGCOR, and any infractions could easily get their license revoked, losing their status as a legitimate business. 

But to those unregulated, they do not have an overseer. If something happens, let’s say funds in your account are lost; chances are, the platform took it, and you will not have other means to get it back.

  • Illegal Betting in the Philippines Usually Runs on Organized Crime Money

One possible reason these illegal betting websites in the Philippines cannot get a PAGCOR license is that they are into some shady business. 

Since time immemorial, casinos have been linked with organized crime. If a casino does not have the license to prove it’s a legal business, chances are, it’s a financier of organized crime. They are also responsible for laundering money, an illegal activity that disguises “dirty money” and “cleaning” them.

There are times that they imitate legitimate businesses like OKBet and promote match-fixing. This could harm the integrity of sports.

Forms of Illegal Gambling in the Philippines

In the Philippines, there are many forms of illegal gambling, namely:

  • Jueteng
  • Masiao
  • Last Two and Last Three
  • Sabong and E-Sabong
  • Video Karera

Anyone who engages in these activities shall answer to Republic Act No. 9287. They will face imprisonment of not less than 30 days, which could reach 20 years, depending on the gravity of the offense. The same goes for individuals playing in unregulated and unlicensed games of chance or skill.


Gambling is not prohibited in the Philippines as long as the government sanctions the games and their operators. Engaging in illegal betting sites might lead to unconsciously financing criminal activities, not to mention creating a risk to themselves.

For a risk-free gambling experience, it is best to play only at licensed gambling platforms, both physical and digital.


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