Casinos in the Philippines and other forms of gambling were illegal up until the 1970’s but that did not stop them flourishing underground. Many of the ill gotten profits were used for organised crime and were a way of laundering money. In 1976 the President Marco Ferdinand signed a decree that put into place the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation. This resulted in much better regulation and thus taxing and control, helping to illuminate some of the organised crime aspects that currently existed.
A year after the decree had been signed the first legal casino, the Manila Bay Casino opened up in manila. This casino was situated on board a three deck cruise liner called the MS Philippine Tourist. A few years after it opened a massive fire broke out in the ship, and devastated it to the point of not being able to open again as a casino. This was when it was decided that brick and mortar casinos under the patronage of PAGCOR would operate on the actual land territory of the Philippines. The first casino to do this was launched at the Philippine Village Hotel.
Today PAGCOR is a large and influential government agency with more than eleven thousand employees. Casinos in the Philippines have been increasing, but due to licenses only being given out to companies who are willing to invest at least a billion dollars into the country, there are not as many of them as there could be.
Casino Filipino Pavilion
Casino Filipino Pavilion is PAGCOR’s flagship casino and is located in the historic town of Manila. PAGCOR owns a number of casinos all around the little island country, but the Casino Filipino Pavilion is the largest. The Casino Filipino Pavilion is hotel casino resort, with a number of restaurants and bars and a newly opened ball room that hosts private functions.
The casino itself is spread over three floors, and has a number of table games as well as modern slot machines. Some lesser known table games include Pontoon and Pula at Puti. Tournaments and other special events are held regularly, and are open to both locals and tourists.
City of Dreams Manila
City of Dreams Manila is another integrated resort, but this time not run by PAGCOR. Instead it is owned by Melco Crown Philippines. The resort is new, only having opened in February 2015 and offers three different hotels with about 1000 rooms between them.
The 15 acre plot houses a number of attractions aside from the casino and three hotels, including a shopping mall and a number of restaurants. The gaming floor is 18 000 square feet, and contains all the newest slots and a number of live table games with old favourites like Blackjack and lesser known Pula at Puti.
Madison Square Garden
The obviously named Madison Square Garden is not in fact only a venue in New York, but is also a hotel and casino in the Philippines. Set also in the capital of Manila, Madison Square Garden offers comfortable rooms and a small casino with a number of slot machines and no live table games. There are no restaurants on site either, but eateries are nearby.
Pan Pacific Manila
Pan Pacific Manila is one of a chain of hotels spread out across the pacific. Known as Manila’s best luxury hotel, the Pan Pacific Manila is a Vegas styled resort that offers a large casino with several gaming tables and a large number of ultra modern slot machines many of which are progressive.