Gaming Market Insights Series #6: Philippines: Flourishing mobile payment and online lottery potentials

Thanks to steady growth, the Philippines now enjoys the fastest-growing smartphone market in the ASEAN. A recent report by the market research company International Data Corporation (IDC) estimated that within Q1’ 2016 alone 3.5 millions smartphones were shipped to the Philippines.

Graph: Number of smartphone users in the Philippines from 2013 to 2020 (unit: million units)


The number of smartphone users in the Philippines is estimated to reach 27.5 million this year 2016. Smartphone device, empowered by local vendors’ support and 15% year-over-year (YoY) growing smartphone market, promises to be the catapult for emerging mobile-based businesses in the near future. As more and more Filipinos own a smartphone and go online, internet bandwidth needs to be upgraded to meet the needs of the growing use.

The era of mobile payment

More than 3 million Filipinos out of 100 million population statistically left their home to find better work abroad, which triggers potential growth of smartphone and mobile payment forms. Similar to the dual-corridor phenomenon observed in Kenya indicated in our previous reports, faster and more convenient payments solutions also repels more growth from tech savvy and mobile-driven customers. Local telecommunication companies are stepping up to facilitate the mobile payment ecosystem and offering more payment solutions to customers.

Thanks to GCASH and SMART Money — the two mobile payment pioneers which entered the market in the early 2000s, mobile money and mobile payment have represented as remittance platform and alternative payment solution to payment in brick and mortar shops. Cash in/out, money transfer money, remittance and recently online game have integrated mobile payment in their business routines.

What is out there for the Philippines lottery market?

Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) is the state’s exclusive and also oldest lottery system with 82 years in operation. The PCSO offers 3 major products in the market — Lotto, Sweepstakes and Keno. From 1995 to 2015 total revenue raised by Lotto garnered around 6.88 billion USD (332.57 billion Peso), which is used by the national government to fund anti-poverty programs of health medical and social welfare program. Last year revenue from PCSO core games of Lotto, Sweepstakes and Keno was 670 million USD (32.47 billion Peso). The local government has officially banned illegal and underground gambling business, which will undoubtedly in turn boost local revenue for PCSO.

Currently Philippine lottery still inquires the presence of brick and mortar agents, which explains why the online lottery market is still wide open. There is no online lottery/betting official site currently operational in the country due to the state monopoly in gambling business, let alone the absence of pro-private business regulations. However, lottery market among other businesses will soon find it impossible to stay out of the flourishing mobile economy in the country. Similarly to other countries, the Philippines might see the state companies take the lead in forging online lottery and online payment platform, before other private and international companies can step up and capitalize on the growing population and mobile economy of the Philippines. Also regional movement of mobile payment ecosystem and online lottery in Japan, South Korea etc. is expected to produce spillover effect and set off future lottery growth in the country.

The report is prepared by CARDANO Labo — the leading blockchain research and development startup focusing on blockchain-empowered game. We are keen on bringing this technology to a broader audience where people will have better access and opportunities to enjoy their lives through unprecedented technical solutions.

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English Nicole Nguyen (
Japanese Muuto Morikawa(

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