Betting on sabong (cockfighting) is actually legal in the Philippines! But with COVID-19 restrictions, this kind of sport turned to e-sabong or online sabong because cockfighting events are not yet allowed.
Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) Chairman Andrea Domingo announced that there are only two companies that are currently allowed to legally operate e-sabong or online sabong: Lucky 8 Starquest owned by Atong Ang and Belvedere Corp. owned by Bong Pineda.
The gambling icons were able to legally operate online “sabong” or cockfighting companies after paying the Php75-million performance bond set by PAGCOR.
Domingo clarified that online sabong is legal, as long as the companies have a license to operate.
“Ang e-sabong ang major source ng funds namin sa ngayon dahil nagsara nga ang mga casinos due to COVID,” the chairman explained.
She added that majority of the proceeds go to President Rodrigo Duterte’s social funds. In turn, these funds are used to fund hospitals and augment the budget for cash aid to Filipino citizens amid the pandemic.
Illegal e-Sabong Operators
Three other companies tried to apply for a license but failed to pay for the performance bond: Oriental Capital Venture, Encuentro, and Magnus.
While these companies don’t appear to be breaking the law, the PAGCOR chairman said that they found two illegal e-sabong operators that are accepting online bets without a license: sabonginternational.com and kingsportslive.com.
According to Domingo, both illegal sabong websites are operated by congressmen, but did not name the said politicians or where they’re from.
“Nakikipag-ugnayan na kami sa PNP [Philippine National Police] na hulihin ang mga online sabong sites na wala pang mga lisensya,” Domingo added.
Where to Get e-Sabong License
The E-Sabong Licensing Department (ESLD) of PAGCOR handles the processing and issuance of licenses for e-sabong operations and related tasks for off-site wagering/betting on live cockfighting matches and online/remote streaming activities.