eSabong : Electronic Sabong

Cockfighting is illegal in many parts of the world but since it is considered tradition it is allowed in the Philippines to this day. While the government has regulated the industry and optimized how they make money off the traditions, illegal cockfighting is still rampant across the islands. Illegal cockfights take place across the islands and especially in rural locations.

There are an estimated 2,500 cockpits spread out over the 7,100 islands that make up the Philippines. This page is dedicated to Sabong betting and will discuss the aspects of the sport and how you can get in on the action legally. And if you’re not convinced that Sabong is a very popular sport around the world, there are numerous forums dedicated to all things Sabong relevant, sites to stream Sabong matches, and popular events such as the eSabong and Sabong Derby.

What is eSabong?

eSabong is defined as the online/remote or off-site wagering/betting on live cockfighting matches, events, and/or activities streamed or broadcasted live from cockpit arena/s licensed or authorized by the Local Government Units having jurisdiction thereof.

The Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation’s E-Sabong regulatory function is undertaken primarily by the E-Sabong Licensing Department (ESLD). This includes the development of the regulatory framework, processing of applications, issuance of licenses to conduct E-Sabong operations, and other related tasks.

The regulated cockfighting arenas are few and far between, and the demand currently outpaces the supply. This has led to a preponderance of illegal underground cock fighting rings, with many of these posting their odds online and accepting wagers over the Internet in the form of e-Sabong betting, which is against Philippines law.

However, that’s starting to change, as the national government is beginning to embrace the idea of Philippine legal e-Sabong betting with the success of recent legislation. This page explains the e-Sabong phenomenon, its legal status in the islands, and just when you can expect regulated online cockfighting gambling to hit the Internet near you.

However, e-Sabong is extremely popular, with hundreds of thousands of avid sabong enthusiasts in the country flocking to unregulated sites to place their bets on underground sabong derbies. That said, there is a movement in the islands to legalize e-Sabong and regulate it along with expanded traditional sabong betting initiatives.

Most analysts believe e-Sabong will be legal in the Philippines sometime in 2021, with regulated betting outlets (i.e. cockfighting OTBs) being up and running within the 2021 calendar year. The PH government simply wishes to bring e-Sabong out of the shadows and regulate it as it does all other sports wagering, taking advantage of modern connected technology to boost the national sport to new heights.

How eSabong functions?

The eSabong fights are being streamed live online and bettors can place their bets through different agents that use different platforms. The bettor must be a member of a certain platform under an agent in order to watch and place bets. Of course, a mobile phone or a computer with an Internet connection is needed. There are several apps for Android and iOS but one can also watch through a browser. Online Sabong is no different from watching an actual cockfight inside the cockpit.

The only difference is that it is done remotely and there is no loud crowd. Sometimes the crowd is what makes cockfights enjoyable. Fights are being done with a handful of people including professional cameramen who take all the angles of the fight to entertain viewers and bettors. In fact, one cannot view it without betting.

This is quite reasonable because they are delimiting the bandwidth of their websites to bettors only. There are also greater advantages of eSabong over the on-site cockfight because all viewers can have a closer look at the fights. Unlike in actual games where it is difficult to see the gamefowls fighting especially if you are sitting far from the cockpit.

Who Regulates Betting On eSabong In The Philippines?

In the Philippines, eSabong is regulated by the Games and Amusement Board as commissioned by Executive Order 149 put into effect in 1993. The regulations set forth by EO 149 enforce strict rules and regulations to be considered legal under the Philippine gambling law. Bookies must obtain a government license to accept bets at cockpits and are subject to inspection from the GAB.

Once licensed a bookie can accept legal bets at the cockpits and offer many different types of bets on the event. Since there are so many illegal cockfights, the government has put the responsibility on local barangay officials to combat those illegal operations. In some cases, barangay officials have been arrested for not enforcing laws on illegal cockpits.

Horse racing bettors are familiar with offtrack betting (OTB) kiosks, where they can wager on races away from the actual racing venue. The same is available for Sabong, which is called e-Sabong in the Philippines. This lets bettors put money on cockfights without being at the actual cockpit, but it exists in a legal gray area.

While PAGCOR has been ruled to have oversight of Sabong and the legal authority to institute e-Sabong throughout the Philippines, the government gaming regulator has so far chosen not to, as remote Sabong betting is controversial. Indeed, in 2019, HB 8910 was passed through the Philippine Congress nearly unanimously. This bill would eliminate e-Sabong altogether, but it has not yet been signed into law.

Philippines Mobile eSabong Betting Applications

As it stands right now, all e-Sabong betting occurs in an unregulated and unlawful manner over the Internet via desktop computers, laptop computers, and mobile devices like iPhones, iPads, and Androids. Once legalized, of course, this accessibility will improve dramatically, with mobile sabong betting primed to be the most popular way to bet.

Mobile sports betting at offshore sportsbooks are already how the majority of Filipino punters wager on athletics, rather than placing their bets at retail MegaSportsWorld (MSW) outlets. Such online sites – while they do not and likely cannot logistically offer e-Sabong betting – do feature many other markets for both domestic and international sports.

If you’re an avid e-Sabong bettor now – or will be once the pastime is properly regulated – you probably bet on other sports, too. All of the sites we recommend for legal online sports betting in the Philippines are available via web apps, with responsive design elements that fit any make, model, and size of mobile device with no downloads required.

Bottom Line

e-Sabong is exactly what it sounds like: electronic sabong, or online cockfighting. Currently, e-Sabong is a prominent underground betting market, where operators set up black market websites and social media portals to accept wagers on illicit, unregulated sabong derby action.

The Philippines government recognizes that this is a wildly popular phenomenon, and while they’ve been cracking down on these operators, legislators in the country are addressing the online sabong craze with a commonsense approach that seeks to legalize, standardize, regulate, and tax a portion of the betting revenues associated with the sport.

Typically, sabong betting requires Filipino cockfighting enthusiasts to be at the derbies themselves (i.e. sabong arena venues) to place bets, but e-Sabong expands the reach to those who can’t make it to a cockpit in time to gamble. By legalizing e-Sabong, the Philippines hopes to bring its most ancient and storied national sport into the 21st century.

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Sandra Oneal
Articles: 15

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