The casino sector in the Philippines is one of the fastest-growing parts of the Filipino economy. Philippines casinos are popular with locals, but it is tourists who increasingly form the mainstay of most casinos' clientele. Traditionally, most casinos in the Philippines have been licensed through a state-run company called PAGCOR, but recent liberalization of the rules has allowed private firms to open up casino ventures of their own, encouraged by the growing popularity of gambling in the country.
The largest concentration of Philippines casinos can be found, unsurprisingly, in the capital of the Philippines, Manila. Manila casinos are the biggest and most popular in the country, attracting thousands of visitors every year, many of them travelers from abroad. The capital is very popular with tourists from neighboring East Asian countries, but also further afield, including the USA and Europe. Consequently, casinos are a natural magnet for visitors wanting to relax in what can sometimes be a very crowded and busy city, with a varied and thriving nightlife scene. Manila casinos are famous for their relaxed ambience, and socializing is viewed as being almost as important as gambling. The pace of the games is often quite slow, which acts as a welcome antidote to the frenzied pace of city life.
One of the most popular Philippines casinos was the PAGCOR-owned Subic Bay Legend, situated at Subic Bay north of Manila, on the site of a former US Naval base, but the casino was closed in May 2006. However, there is another casino in the Subic Bay development called the Diamond, with tentative plans to create further casinos in the area. Casino development is further encouraged by the positive business conditions in the Philippines, a cheaper place to do business than alternative countries such as Macao and Japan, and the more relaxed rules on casino ownership in areas like Subic Bay, which have "Special Economic Zone" status to encourage investment.
In addition to these developments, there are several casinos further afield in the Philippines, including the islands of Cebu and Davao. The PanAsia Poker Tour has also hosted its first event in a Philippines casino, the Philippines Open, which is open to poker players from around the world and is held at the Airport Casino Filipino. Philippines casinos are a growing part of the Filipino tourist scene, and they provide an increasingly attractive alternative to casinos in other East Asian countries.
The list of Ghana’s casinos is quite short: not a surprise for a poor African country. Actually, by the standards of Africa, Ghana isn’t actually all that poor. It was the first African country to shake off colonialism in 1957, led by Kwame Nkrumah. The next 30 or so years were the usual struggle against the economic incompetence of the various rulers, including the almost traditional military coup. Things finally got sorted out in the 1990’s, and the economy is now growing again, giving the inhabitants roughly twice the income per head that is usual in Africa.
Still, that level of income does not support a thriving gaming industry, so as we say, the list of Ghana’s casinos is still quite short.
In fact, there are four in the entire country.
List of Ghana’s Casinos:
Accra: Golden Tulip Hotel & Royal Casino
La Palm: Atlantic Casino and Royal Beach Hotel
Kumasi: City Hotel & Ashanti Casino
Tema: Merdian Hotel & Club Vegas
All these casinos have both slot machines and gaming tables. For the latter two, the provincial ones, blackjack and roulette, while the ones in the capital, Accra, also have poker tables.
While there are both gold mining and timber sales as industries in Ghana, most of the population and most of the economy is based on subsistence (or peasant) agriculture. This is one reason why the list of Ghana’s casinos is so short. Another is that while there is a tourist industry, it is aimed at African-Americans coming to see their roots, looking at the slave forts, and so on along the coast. This really isn’t a market that is known to gamble very much.
In fact, for much of the area’s history there have really only been two exports: slaves (The Ashanti Kingdom was a prime source for the Arab slavers long before whites reached the area), and gold: indeed, the country still boasts one of the largest mines and gold companies in the world, again named after the ancient kingdom, Ashanti.
Gambling and casinos have traditionally done very well in mining areas, but this is changing as the business becomes more capital intensive: no longer are there armies of well-paid miners tearing at a hillside. Now it is very few people and large numbers of very expensive machines. Machines, as you may have noted, do not gamble.
So, there are the reasons why the list of Ghana’s casinos is so short. A poor country, based on agriculture, the tourist industry is not oriented to a market that is likely to gamble, and there are very few local workers who make enough to gamble.