MANILA - The country's gaming regulator on Wednesday said it can issue appropriate regulations to license and legitimize e-sabong activities or cockfights streamed online, as part of efforts to shore up much needed funds for the government.
"PAGCOR can issue the proper regulations in order to license and legitimize operations of local online sabong. In this way, bettors will be protected and regulated, legitimate and licensed local online sabong operations will be identified and will be allowed to operate, and Government will be able to collect proper fees and taxes," said PAGCOR chief Andrea Domingo.
The Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (PAGCOR) earlier reminded gaming operators that “e-sabong,” or cockfighting streamed online is banned and cautioned the public not to engage in any unauthorized gambling activities amid government's ban on such events to curb the spread of the virus.
"Further, licensed local online sabong operators will only be allowed to livestream cockfights from cockpit arenas duly licensed by the local government units and with the necessary permits," added Domingo.
PAGCOR said it noted an increase in illegal online gambling activities being promoted on social media platforms like Facebook since the COVID-19 pandemic hit.
Under 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.”
Domingo said PAGCOR is also coordinating with the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) in cracking down on other illegal gambling activities.
"Once this is established, the National Bureau of Investigation and Philippine National Police will be able to identify the illegal operators and apprehend them accordingly," said Domingo.
The agency has asked the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas and the Anti-Money Laundering Council to investigate banks, remittance services, and payment services used as conduits of illegal gambling operators.