Nearly three years ago, TNC Pro Team help put Philippine esports on the proverbial map with their Top 8 finish at Dota 2’s The International 2016. Since then, Philippine esports have grown exponentially.
Case in point, esports in the Philippines now has the full backing of the local government. Since 2017, the Philippine government have pledged to help provide support for the growing competitiv esports scene in the Philippines. Also, the country’s biggest telephone corporations, such as PLDT and Globe, have since hosted multiple national tournaments.
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With signs of support for the local esports scene growing, esports in the Philippines will have nowhere to go but up.
Among the many esports titles, there are a couple that standout among Filipino players. The aforementioned Dota 2 is arguably the most popular esports title in the Philippines. This is followed by Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, League of Legends, and StarCraft 2.
To say that esports betting in the Philippines is big is only fitting. This is especially because there are multiple legitimate sites that are legal, regulated, and licensed, albeit based offshore, that offer betting lines and support available local payment options.
Is Esports Betting Legal in the Philippines?
When it comes to online betting, there are only two strict requirements. First is that you have to be over 18 years old. Second is that the sportsbook has to be licensed and regulated offshore. The latter is especially important. Filipinos are not allowed to place bets on betting services regulated and licensed by the local Philippine government.
In general, however, Filipinos have little to worry about when it comes to online gambling. The only thing that you need to make sure of is that the betting company is based out of the country. Of course, they should be licensed and regulated as well. Not to mention, majority of the laws and restrictions when it comes to betting in the Philippines mostly applies to to the operators.
Unfortunately, legality isn’t the biggest challenge with esports betting in the Philippines. Rather, it’s finding a sportsbook that cater to payment methods available in the country. Another common concern is finding a site that accepts bets from Filipinos. This is because many online sportsbooks laso have local businesses set up in the Philippines. To continue operating their businesses in the country, one of the requirements is to prevent Filipinos from signing up and placing their bets.
The MegaSportsWorld (MSW) has been officially licensed by the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) to offer betting lines for Filipinos. However, the lines offered are often incomplete and lacking. This is especially true when we’re talking about esports matches.
This is why offshore sportsbooks are your best bet for esports betting in the Philippines.
How Popular Is Esports Betting in the Philippines?
Esports, and gaming, in general, is very popular in the country. The Philippines is part of the Southeast Asian region, which has since been considered as the fastest-growing esports audience across multiple titles for a few years now.
More importantly, the Philippines was seen initially deemed as one of the ideal markets to host esport tournaments. This is because of the competition of quality and affordable infrastructure in place, as well as a particularly robust fanbase. Unfortunately, because of the current Philippine administration’s stance on the use of illegal drugs, many organizers have since decided to look to other Southeast Asian countries.
One infamous incident, in particular, involved Valve. The American video game developers and creators of Dota 2 pulled their support from a Dota 2 Major initially scheduled for a January 2018 run. This is after teams expressed their concern for the country’s rulings regarding the use of illegal substances.
Still, despite the recent setbacks, the Philippine esports scene continue to thrive. In mid-2018, the first franchise-based electronic esports league in the Philippines, “The Nationals”, was announced. It officially kicked off in August 2018. The “Road to the Nationals” served as an audition for interested players as the winning players were added to the pool where the six franchises will draft their players from.
The official franchised-league, The Nationals, kicked off later on with its inaugural season. This all culminated in the Cignal Ultra Warriors taking home the championship over the Suha-XCTN Punishers.
In addition to The Nationals, the Philippines was also chosen to host the 2019 SEA Games. This will mark as the first time that esports titles will be included as a medal event in a multi-sport competition sanctioned by the International Olympic Committee.
Who Are the Top Players from the Philippines?
TNC Predator are considered as the most notable all-Filipino organization in esports. The Philippine-based organization currently field competitive teams for both Counter-Strike: Global Offensive and Dota 2. Their Dota 2 squad, in particular, are two time winners of the World Electronic Sports Games, an Olympic-style tournament organized by AliSports, the sports division of Chinese multinational conglomerate, Alibaba.
There are also multiple Filipino professional esports players that are making their marks across various titles.
Jake “Xmithie” Puchero of Team Liquid is widely considered as one of the best junglers in League of Legends and have won multiple domestic titles, in addition to constantly qualifying for multiple iterations of the League of Legends World Championship, the equivalent of Dota 2’s The International for League of Legends.
The 20-year-old Gilbert “Xplosive” Rojo is also one of the Philippines’ most notable esports players. He currently plays for OpTic Gaming under their Gears of War division.
Other notable Filipino esports players include Euneil “Staz” Javiñas, who is a professional Hearthstone player and most notably took home the title at the WESG 2016.
Hopefully, with the support of the Philippine-government and the success of the 2019 SEA games, the Philippines will, once again, become a premiere destination for esports titles. Until then, the country will have to rely on its professional players to try and carry the Philippine flag wherever they go and whenever they play.
As for the future of esports betting in the Philippines, it’s certainly looking good for those who are interested.
As the esports market continues to grow in the country, oddsmakers and sportsbooks will have even more of an incentive to try and offer lines for Filipinos. This is good news as an increase in variety of options will result into better odds and payouts.
Either way, there’s no doubt that esports and esports betting has a big future in the tropical country.