PAGCOR warns e-Sabong platforms should not accept overseas bets

E-sabong operators started to operate in The Philippines in May.
E-sabong operators started to operate in The Philippines in May.

PAGCOR has warned that e-sabong platforms are not allowed to accept bets from outside The Philippines.

The Philippines.- The Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp (PAGCOR) has warned that any operators found to accept e-sabong bets from overseas will face penalties. The regulator said it was concerned that overseas workers in the Philippines are increasingly betting on e-Sabong platforms. 

The regulator emphasised that its rules stipulate that e-Sabong platforms should not accept bets from outside the Philippines, nor should sites be visited outside the country. E-sabong operators need to submit a certificate from a game lab, proving that website is not accessible outside the Philippines and that IP addresses from other countries are blocked or restricted.

PAGCOR stated: “We are not oblivious to the fact that certain websites are accessible abroad. These, if any, are illegal websites operating outside the regulatory authority of PAGCOR. However, should any of our licensed operators be caught offering their fights abroad, they shall be meted with the applicable penalties as provided in our regulation.”

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.

Catholic Church against e-sabong bill

Several Catholic church leaders have expressed their opposition to the country’s e-sabong bill. Senator Grace Poe’s Public Service Committee has scheduled a hearing this week to resolve the bill. 

The government is seeking to make up for lost revenue from its land-based casinos and online gaming companies, which have been hit hard by countermeasures to contain the Covid-19 pandemic. 

However, Romulo Valles, Archbishop of Davao and former chairman of the Philippine Conference of Catholic Bishops (CBCP), said that online gambling, in this case, cockfighting, “is still gambling.” 

he said the enactment of the bill will promote an attitude that it is okay to use much-needed money for gambling. He said such attempts to legalise e-sabong may cause Filipino families to fall apart. 

The Manila Times reported that Bishop Patrick Daniel Parcon of Talibon, CBCP Central and Eastern Visayas regional representative and former CBCP Secretary-General Antonietto Cabahug said: “poverty should be solved with economic means, not gambling.”

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