It’s been a tumultuous time for the Philippines, unable to come out from under the relentless attack of COVID-19. Casinos in some parts of the country have been forced to shut down or reduce operations in an effort to thwart the virus, but the decline in land-based gaming has been a catalyst for online gaming to be embraced. Over the past year, several initiatives have been launched to integrate iGaming operations, and MegaSportsWorld (MSW), a sports betting operator, is taking advantage of one. It has announced that it has now been approved to introduce online sports betting across the country.
Mobile Sports Betting Gains Ground in the Philippines
Before COVID-19 struck the Philippines, MSW was operating 70 physical sports betting locations, as well as a phone-in service for the Philippines. Like all companies operating in the gaming space, it has seen its revenue take a hit, but has still managed to stay strong. The operator, which just introduced a new betting shop at the City of Dreams Manila, will be in a much stronger position going forward, as it has received approval from the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) to introduce an online sports betting alternative. A statement from the company indicates that this is the first time in the company’s 12-year history that it will be able to offer an online option.
The approval comes as PAGCOR continues to develop its Philippine Inland Gaming Operators (PIGO) scheme. This was first introduced last year and was designed to create a regulated online gaming market to help offset the losses incurred through the coronavirus pandemic. It was a significant shift for the country’s gaming industry, one that the country’s president, Rodrigo Duterte, had previously promised to stifle. However, as the Philippines continued to loss millions of dollars in domestic revenue, he was forced to change his stance and now welcomes gambling.
MSW Ready for a New Era in Sports Betting
The timing of MSW’s approval couldn’t be better. The NFL season is here and this will give the company a quick boost. It won’t be a huge boost, as American football still hasn’t caught on as much as it has in other countries. However, it will serve as a springboard and a chance to work out any kinks before the start of the NBA season in October. Basketball is extremely popular in the country and the NBA has a small handful of players of Filipino descent. Among these is Jalen Green, how became the league’s highest-drafted Asian American player this summer when he was picked up by the Houston Rockets.
The PIGO scheme is still young and has a lot of work to do before it starts delivering significant revenue to the Philippines. However, it’s a huge step in the right direction, and MSW’s efforts will help move it forward. It will also be able to reduce the number-one sports betting market in the Philippines – the black market. Jeff Mann, the company’s managing director, asserts, “Our only competitors right now are the illegals who have become especially aggressive during [COVID-19]. Now with MSW going online for the first time, it puts us on a level playing field with these cowboys. MSW’s long standing reputation in the market combined with what will be a trusted online offering can only take back lost market share from the illegals and help grow the market even further.”