The Philippines approves two more e-sabong operators

PAGCOR previously licensed two e-sabong operators in May.
PAGCOR previously licensed two e-sabong operators in May.

PAGCOR has allowed four firms to operate e-sabong in the Philippines.

The Philippines.- The Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp (PAGCOR) has announced that four licensed e-sabong (online cockfighting) operators have been granted permits.

The regulator previously granted permits to two e-sabong firms in May: E-Sports Encuentro Live Corp., with the online brand of Encuentro Live!; and Visayas Cockers Club Inc., with the brand Sabong International Ph.

It has now also approved applications from Belvedere Vista Corp. and Lucky 8 Star Quest Inc. PAGCOR chairman Andrea Domingo has said that two more firms have yet to submit application papers.

PAGCOR hopes to grant permits for six e-sabong operators as online betting on cockfights has rocketed in the Philippines since cockpits were closed to spectators at the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Philippines’ cockfighting industry is believed to be worth just over US$1bn per year.

PAGCOR is suffering the impact of the closure of Metro Manila casinos amid a rise in Covid-19 cases.

According to Domingo, the decline in revenue could prevent the regulator from contributing significantly to the Philippine Health Insurance Corp universal healthcare programme.

POGO tax bill

The President of the Philippines, Rodrigo Duterte has recently called on lawmakers to pass a bill that sets income and gaming taxes on online casinos.

Senate Bill 2232 indicates that Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators (POGO) must pay 5 per cent on their gross gaming revenue.

Foreigners employed by online casinos and their service providers would have to pay 25 per cent income tax. 

POGOs made US$149.4m in tax payments last year despite the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and the resulting departure of many firms.

Philippines GGR up 19% in Q1

In May, PAGCOR announced that licensed casinos and PAGCOR-operated casinos brought in GGR of PHP25.74bn (US$536.2m) in Q1 2021. That represents an increase of 19 per cent from PHP25.80bn (US$538.5m) in Q4 2020.

However, PAGCOR reported that GGR was down 43.9 per cent year-on-year, mainly due to the impact of Covid-19 restrictions.

Some 82.1 per cent of GGR came from Entertainment City, which hosts four casino venues: City of Dreams Manila, Solaire Resort and Casino, Okada Manila and Resorts World Manila.

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PAGCOR POGOs sports betting