Okada Manila iGaming Site Launches for Domestic Gamblers in the Philippines

Posted on: April 18, 2022, 12:48h. 

Last updated on: April 18, 2022, 11:30h.

Okada Manila is at long last entering the iGaming space for players located inside the Philippines.

Okada Manila iGaming Philippines casinos
A screengrab of the Okada Manila online casino site. The Philippines is allowing the four integrated resorts in Manila to run iGaming platforms for domestic players. But only for those customers who have previously patronized the brick-and-mortar casinos. (Image: Okada Manila)

Tiger Resort, Leisure and Entertainment Inc. announced yesterday that its internet gaming platform is underway with its soft launch. A full expansion of the online casino site is expected later this month.

The Philippines motioned amid the COVID-19 pandemic to allow the country’s four integrated casino resorts in Manila to conduct online casino operations. Known as Philippine Inland Gaming Operators (PIGO), the iGaming licenses are available for City of Dreams, Solaire, Resorts World, and Okada.

The Philippines Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) issued Inland Gaming licenses nearly a year ago. In May of 2021, the state-run gaming operator and regulator issued PIGO permits to Okada, City of Dreams, and Solaire. Resorts World parent Genting Group, a Malaysian-based gaming and hospitality conglomerate, has still not expressed interest in running iGaming inside the Philippines.

COVID Delays

The Philippines authorized PIGO licenses in part to help the four Manila casinos offset some of their land-based business losses caused by COVID-19. But the ongoing pandemic greatly slowed PAGCOR in finalizing governing conditions that such iGaming sites would operate.

At long last, those governing conditions are set. Okada’s iGaming site — OkadaOnlineCasino — is the second PIGO site to commence operations. Solaire was the first earlier this month with its SolaireOnlineCasino platform.

The online gaming sites can only accept players who have frequented the brick-and-mortar casinos in the past and have active player accounts with the land-based resorts. The iCasinos are permitted to operate live dealer table games and interactive slot machines.

OkadaOnlineCasino offers live slots where a physical terminal is seen remotely over the internet. The online gambler interacts with the gaming machine remotely, similar to proxy betting.

Okada officials say its soft launch includes six live dealer baccarat, two roulette tables, and 80 electronic slot machines. Upon full deployment, the iGaming site will increase its allotment to 14 baccarat games and roughly 150 slots. The two roulette dealers will also remain.

PAGCOR’s allowance of iGaming isn’t only for the casinos, of course. The government agency will collect 30% of the online gross gaming revenue (GGR) in the form of taxes.

Business Struggling

The Philippines only recently managed to get its latest coronavirus surge under control. As a result, the four commercial casinos continue to lag greatly behind their pre-pandemic business levels.

Okada Manila reported last week that its 2022 first-quarter gaming revenue was down another 14.1% from the final three months in 2021. However, GGR was up almost 18% from the first quarter of 2021.

Unless another COVID-19 outbreak ensues, the coming months and quarters should be better for the Philippine gaming industry. The casinos were only allowed to reopen their full resort operations from March 1 without capacity restraints. However, only vaccinated individuals remain permitted to gamble.

Though the Okada Manila online casino is only for select customers, the platform stands to generate considerable revenue. Resort reps say the iGaming network is primarily reserved for the casino’s “top-tier” rewards patrons.

Okada’s Reward Circle Maharlika tier — the highest in the program — requires 15,000 points. Members receive one tier point for every PHP16 (US$0.31) they spend in the resort.