Online cockfighting, also known as online sabong or e-sabong in the Philippines, has been suspended for over a year now. It was former president Rodrigo Duterte who implemented the ban before leaving office, and after being sworn in office, new Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. confirmed that the activity has no place in the country’s gambling landscape.
Despite that, online sabong continues to thrive in the Philippines. The Philippine National Police (PNP) is hoping to change that.
Former PNP General Rodolfo Azurin Jr. stated in a past press briefing that he wants e-sabong to be included on the Philippine’s national illegal gambling register.
He said, “By adding it to the country’s anti-gambling laws, the police will have greater power to intervene and shut down e-sabong operations. It would also increase the authority to completely block offshore websites that offer the betting activity.”
Up to now, e-sabong has not yet been labeled as a form of illegal gambling. It has even resurfaced quietly in the Philippines, with an estimated 200 betting sites opening under a “new management.”
Legal e-sabong operators such as Atong Ang have raised concerns to the government as these new e-sabong operators are unregulated and do not pay taxes to local and national governments.
The PNP has stated that they have been having a hard time dealing with e-sabong operators due to limited technological capabilities. Despite that, the PNP is closely monitoring numerous websites, Facebook accounts, and mobile applications that are being used for e-sabong.