The Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (Pagcor) has urged overseas Filipinos not to patronize online cockfight betting games that are considered illegal offshore operations.
In a statement, the country’s gaming regulator said on Thursday, Nov. 18, said that E-sabong websites that are accessible outside the Philippines are all illegal games, and are operating outside the regulatory authority of Pagcor.
Citing the regulatory framework for the E-sabong industry, Pagcor said online cockfight betting operators in the Philippines are not allowed to accept bets emanating abroad.
Pagcor issued the reminder following reports that overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) have “active participation” in the booming E-sabong industry.
“Despite institution of regulatory policies and controls, certain sectors have expressed their concern on the increasing patronization by the Filipino public of online games, or E-sabong. Of note is the emerging concern on the active participation of our OFWs in the said games,” Pagcor said.
Under Pagcor rules, operators are required to submit a certification from a gaming laboratory attesting that their E-sabong websites are not accessible outside the Philippines.
Internet Protocol (IP) addresses emanating from other countries are also blocked or restricted from accessing such websites, Pagcor said.
“Hence, offshore betting, or bets coming from players abroad, even if from Filipinos, are not allowed in E-sabong,” Pagcor said.
However, the gaming regulator admitted that certain E-sabong games are accessible abroad. “These, if any, are illegal websites operating outside the regulatory authority of Pagcor.”
Should any of Pagcor-licensed operators be caught offering their fights abroad, they shall be meted with the applicable penalties as provided in our regulation, the regulator said.
“We thus request the public to report to Pagcor those websites which are accessible abroad for our proper disposition,” the agency said. We likewise continue to remind the public to observe responsible gaming in engaging online games being offered by licensed operators.”
Pagcor data showed that as of Nov. 8, there are seven accredited E-sabong companies in the country with 11 registered websites.
Last August, Andrea D. Domingo, Pagcor chairman and chief executive officer said the government has put a cap on the number of online cockfight betting operators to 12, leaving five licenses still up for grabs.
Pagcor generates about P350 million to P400 million in revenue a month from E-sabong.