With an executive order, the Philippine president formalized the ban on “e-sabong,” which Duterte had ordered only orally in May. It is a form of gambling that exploded with the pandemic and was initially tolerated by the Philippine government because of the revenue it guaranteed to the state coffers. But a Senate report from April had brought to light the disappearance of 34 people linked to this business.
Manila ( / Agencies) – Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. confirmed the ban on e-sabong, online betting on cockfights. In an executive order issued on December 28, he called the ban an “urgent necessity” in compliance with “the state’s paramount obligation to protect public health and morals and promote the general safety and well-being.”
His predecessor, Rodrigo Duterte, had already announced strong measures in this regard in May, but did not issue a specific ordinance. The e-sabong had exploded in the Philippines during the pandemic. With the confinement, the traditional venues for betting on these fights – a form of gambling deeply rooted in the country – had moved to the Internet and the volume of business was increasing. At first, Duterte seemed more sensitive to the 640 million pesos in income (more than 10 million euros) that the e-sabong system contributed monthly to the state coffers, but the report of a Senate investigation commission -which in April he spoke of up to 34 people disappearing into nowhere over e-sabong-related issues – prompted the Department of the Interior to pressure the president to enact a ban.
Now the measure has been formalized with the Marcos Jr. directive that decrees the prohibition of live broadcasting of cockfights outside the authorized arenas, regardless of the location of the betting platform. And it also orders the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (Pagcor), the public gaming and betting concessionaire, to ensure, in coordination with local governments and the police, the implementation of the directive by taking appropriate measures against lawbreakers.