PAGCOR has warned that e-sabong should be practised responsibly to avoid gambling-related problems.
The Philippines.- Online betting on cockfights has rocketed in the Philippines since the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp (PAGCOR) announced the approval of the first e-sabong operators. The regulator is now warning players to gamble responsibly to avoid gambling-related harms.
E-sabong grew in popularity after cockpits were closed to spectators at the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic. In May, PAGCOR announced the first two licensed e-sabong operators had started to operate. In June, it approved two more applications.
The regulator also warned the public not to participate in cockfighting betting offered by illegal operators.
It said: “Sabong being closely intertwined with our culture is presently gaining popularity as an online gaming activity among Filipino.
“Gaming responsibly is when a player only bets with money that he or she can afford to lose, making sure that money allocated for daily sustenance and for the family is not used.”
The Philippines’ cockfighting industry is believed to be worth just over US$1bn per year. PAGCOR has collected PHP1bn (US$19.9m) in fees since licenced e-sabong (online cockfighting) operators started to operate in the Philippines.
PAGCOR chairman Andrea Domingo said the maximum number of e-sabong licences would be 12. She said there were currently 12 applications pending, but that only 8 new entrants will be allowed to enter the market.