No live, online ‘sabong’ allowed—Pagcor

Published October 14, 2020, 6:00 AM

by Chino S. Leyco

The Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (Pagcor) said that placing bets on cockfights streamed online are prohibited amid government ban on derby events in a bid to contain the spread of the coronavirus.

Andrea Domingo, Pagcor chairman and chief executive, reminded all gaming operators that they should abide government’s order, which banned “sabong,” a popular bloodsport involving gamecocks.

Last Monday, Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque Jr. reiterated that cockfighting events, whether live or streamed online in real time, have long been “absolutely prohibited” under the community quarantine rules.

Sought for comment, Domingo said that “if there is no sabong (cockfighting) allowed, there will be no platform, so there can’t be any betting at all, online or live.”

Pagcor, the government’s gaming regulatory agency, has renewed its strong call to the public not to engage in any unauthorized gambling activities offered by unscrupulous individuals and groups.

Since the COVID-19 pandemic started early this year, Pagcor noted that it has received an increase in

reports on illegal online gambling being promoted through social media platforms like Facebook.

Domingo said that Pagcor is in coordination with the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) and Philippine National Police (PNP) in cracking down illegal gambling activities, such as electronic-Bingo and electronic-sabong.

“If we get reports on any type of illegal gambling including e-sabong, we report same to NBI and PNP,” the Pagcor chief said, referring to the centuries-old Filipino pastime that now shifted to cyberspace.

To strengthen Pagcor’s fight against unauthorized gambling, the agency had asked the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas and the Anti-Money Laundering Council to conduct investigation on banks, remittance services, and payment solutions used as conduits of illegal gambling operators.

As the COVID-19 pandemic reshapes consumer behavior, gamblers have shifted to online betting, which created an opportunity for unscrupulous groups and greater challenge to government regulator.

During the tense political standoff over the speakership in the House of Representatives, the trades barbs of the respective allies of now Speaker Lord Allan Velasco and Taguig-Pateros Rep. Alan Peter Cayetano took to a nasty turn.

Camarines Sur Rep. Luis Raymund Villafuerte turned the guns on his fellow lawmaker who he alleged have “suspected ties” to Sabong International, an online cockfighting site on social media flagged for violating gambling rules.

Under Presidential Decree 449, or the Cockfighting Law of 1974, “cockfighting shall be allowed only in licensed cockpits during Sundays and legal holidays and during local fiestas for not more than three days.”