Cockfighting is an ancient sport and entertainment that has been practiced for centuries in different cultures. It involves two roosters being placed in a small arena to fight each other. The birds are typically equipped with razor-sharp blades or gaffs on their legs, which they use to attack each other. 

Cockfighting is controversial and illegal in many countries due to the potential for extreme cruelty, but it is still practiced in certain regions with various levels of regulation. Many animal rights groups, particularly the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), are seeking for the sport to be banned all over the world.

In the Philippines, cockfighting is known as sabong. In recent years, online cockfights have become increasingly popular. Referred to as online sabong or e-sabong, this type of cockfighting takes place over the internet and involves betting on live-streamed matches. E-sabong was a controversial yet lucrative business in the Philippines. Learn more about it here.


How Does Online Sabong Work?

Cockfight activities are regulated in the Philippines. Seen as a form of mass gathering, actual cockfight events in an arena were prohibited during the height of the Coronavirus pandemic. Due to this, e-sabong gained massive popularity. 

Cockfights online operate similarly to their in-person counterpart. Cockfight operators, licensed by the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR), live-stream the matches on an app or a website. Since the game is online, it can be played by anyone. 

Participants register through the mobile app or site. After making a profile, each participant has to make a deposit first before they can place bets on the rooster of their choice. This also determines how many times one can play. It’s highly suggested to not play all the money a player has deposited at one time.

After depositing, the cockfight site will display a number of different matches that users can choose from and bet on. Gamblers are asked to pick one rooster or a side to place their money on. If their selected rooster wins, they stand to earn money.

The amount of money is typically a specific sum based on the odds established by the cockfight event organizers. Operators have also integrated e-wallet services into their platforms for participants to collect their earnings. 

Many games are live-streamed 24/7, meaning that any gambler is free to bet at their convenience.


Is Online Sabong Gambling?

Just like traditional games, e-sabong is also a form of gambling. Wagers are involved in matches and game winnings are divided among bettors. For a lot of people, playing and betting in e-sabong is easier and more fun compared to the traditional game of sabong as they don’t have to be present in the actual cockfight venue.

They can simply watch games and win through mobile apps or websites.


Is Online Sabong Addictive?

Just like a lot of things in life, too much of one thing can be detrimental to one’s health. Due to the ease and convenience of e-sabong, many individuals quickly fell into it, especially during the height of the pandemic when strict lockdowns were enforced and many people were glued to their phones with nothing much to do. 

A combination of an online game and online betting, e-sabong became a widespread gambling addiction that caused a number of social problems with nearly all of them being motivated by money. Many individuals fell into debt and sold possessions or did crimes to fuel their addiction.

It wasn’t only the participants who were losing money who committed crimes but organizers were also accused of match-fixing schemes.

The worst case linked to playing e-sabong is the disappearance of 34 individuals. According to reports, the individuals were tied to fixing schemes, and many of them were abducted. All individuals have yet to be accounted for and are presumed dead. 

Then-president Rodrigo Duterte first defended e-sabong, stating that the government made around PHP 640 million in taxes from e-sabong and that it was vital for the country, especially during the height of the pandemic.

However, Duterte’s position on the pastime changed after a report by the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) showed the social effect of e-sabong.

In May 2022, Duterte banned e-sabong. Current president Ferdinand Marcos Jr. has yet to reinstate online games and the odds are not likely for those who are hoping that online cock fighting will resume soon. Despite the ban, underground online cock fighting is rife. 


Final Note

The Coronavirus pandemic gave rise to a new phenomenon called e-sabong. A mix of online betting and cock fighting, individuals play the game by registering on a licensed operator’s platform. Operators live-stream fights on their own platforms. 

Those who wish to play the game register on a platform and deposit money via an e-wallet if they want to place bets. After depositing, they can choose a match and place a wager on the cock they hope will win. Depending on the outcome of a fight, they can end up winning or losing money. 

E-sabong used to be a regulated game in the Philippines however, after the rise in crime connected to the sport, the government prohibited it. Traditional cockfighting is still legal in the country, however.


Frequently Asked Questions

What is a cockfighting game?

Cockfighting is an ancient sport that involves pitting two roosters against each other in a fight to the death. It is an activity that involves both luck and skill.

It is a form of gambling and betting, as spectators bet on which bird will win. Cockfighting has been popular for centuries and continues to be a popular and exciting pastime played in many parts of the world today.

What are the rules of sabong?

Cockfight events have several rules. To determine which cocks will face off on the cockfighting day, the birds are matched based on their height, weight, and wingspan. Cocks are then fitted with gaffs on one of their legs. The gaffs allow the gamefowls to injure their opponents.

Before a match, the referee will examine each entrant and once he determines the entrants are eligible, a quick heating will occur. After the heating, the actual fight will begin. If any spectator wants to participate in the betting, one should call the attention of a betting manager.

The match ends when a winning cock is left standing while its opponent is subdued due to injury or if it gets killed. 

If you want to start winning money or make a living from it just like a lot of professional bettors, it’s good to master the rules and know a few tips and tricks to come out on top of the game. In order to have the best outcome in any gamble and not lose earnings, you should consider the breeders of a gamefowl and its win-loss record.

Study their data, explore patterns or trends, and do a lot of analysis and research. Having enough knowledge gives you an idea of which side to bet on, and draw strategies that make you avoid relying on guesswork.

Is online sabong legal in the Philippines?

It used to be legal in the country. However, former president Duterte prohibited the practice. As of 2023, online sabong is still illegal.

What happens if you get caught cockfighting?

If you get caught participating in fights, especially in regions where cockfights are outlawed, you may be subject to prosecution. You will either serve time or pay a fine, depending on the law of the place you were apprehended at.