As the country’s capital and most populous city, Manila set the pace for almost all aspects of life in the Philippines. It has been settled continuously since 1571, having survived colonial rule under Spain, America and Japan to emerge as one of the most dynamic cities in Asia.
Dating back to 1976, gambling has been legal in Manila under the national government monopoly known as PAGCOR—the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation. Wagering activities at PAGCOR properties include slot machines, Baccarat, Blackjack, Roulette, Craps, Big & Small, Pai Gow Poker, Stud Poker and Pontoon, among others. To participate in such activities, players must be at least 21 years of age.
Three of the casinos currently operating in the Manila area are directly managed by PAGCOR under the Casino Filipino brand. One of them is the Casino Filipino Heritage inside the 448-room Heritage Hotel, open daily 24 hours, except 24~25 December, 1 January, Holy Thursday, Good Friday and Black Saturday. The casino features a 21,316-square-foot gaming space with 464 gaming machines and 57 table games, along with four restaurants and a bar.
The Casino Filipino Pavilion inside the 590-room Holiday Inn Manila Pavilion Hotel on United Nations Avenue is larger still. It has a gaming floor covering 35,971 square feet and offers 700 gaming machines and 105 table games, plus six restaurants and a bar. Available games include American Roulette, Baccarat, Big & Small, Blackjack, Casino War, Craps, Mah Jong Lucky 9, Pai Gow Poker, Pontoon, Roulette and Stud Poker, 24 hours a day year-round.
The third PAGCOR property in the capital is the Casino Filipino Hyatt Manila. Open 24/7, it has a 161,500-square-foot gaming floor with 668 gaming machines and 72 table and poker games. There are six restaurants and a bar on the premises, and the hotel has 396 guestrooms. Games include American Roulette, Baccarat, Big & Small, Blackjack, Casino War, Craps, Mah Jong Lucky 9, Mini-Baccarat, Pai Gow Poker, Pontoon, Roulette and Stud Poker.
Several slot arcades can be found in Manila, operated under licenses granted by PAGCOR. The Grand Villa VIP Slot Club on Pateros, for example, has 250 gaming machines, while the Slot Machine Arcade – Ronquillo on the corner of Ronquillo Street and Avenida Street features 369 gaming machines.
Most recently, Manila has decided to give Macau a run for its money and is attempting to create the kinds of gambling opportunities that attract Chinese tourists. Newly opened inside the Midas Hotel on Roxas Boulevard is a casino featuring slot machines open round the clock. Similarly the 500-room Solaire Resort and Casino debuted in March 2013 with a 27,500-square-foot gaming space, featuring 1,200 gaming machines and 295 table games round the clock.
Perhaps the biggest gamble on Manila’s challenge to Macau of late was the opening of Resorts World Manila (RWM), affiliated with Genting Casinos of Malaysia. The new 24/7 resort in Metro Manila’s Newport City district has a 323,000-square-foot gaming space containing 1,500 gaming machines and 300 table games. RWM is publicising itself as the “first integrated tourist hub” in the Philippines, combining lodging brands, restaurants, gaming facilities, entertainment spots and a luxury mall in one grand destination. The complex features three hotels: the five-star Marriot Hotel Manila, the value for money Remington Hotel and, as a centerpiece, the luxury all-suite casino hotel, Maxims Hotel.
For horse racing action, Manila has the Santa Ana Park horse track, operated since 2009 by the Philippine Racing Club, Inc. at the at the 65-hectare Saddle & Clubs Leisure Park in Naic. The thoroughbred racing is complimented by a full-service race book, and dozens of Off Track Betting stations are located throughout Manila for wagering without making the trek to the track.