Philippines gaming regulator PAGCOR has collected more than Php1 billion (US$20 million) in fees from licensed e-Sabong operators since the industry became regulated in May.
In an update on the e-Sabong (online cockfighting) industry posted on its corporate website, PAGCOR said the segment’s contribution had proved to be a “great help in augmenting the depleting coffers of the government to aid in its efforts in the COVID-19 pandemic response.”
The regulator also reiterated the reasons for its decision to regulate the hugely popular Philippines pastime, which aside from raising revenues was also aimed at negating unscrupulous operators.
“PAGCOR advises the public not to engage in any gaming activity from unlicensed e-Sabong Operators and unregistered e-Sabong websites to avoid being duped and cheated of your hard earned money,” it said.
“Licensed e-Sabong operators, their brands and websites can be viewed at the PAGCOR website.
“To further strengthen the fight against unauthorized and illegal e-Sabong operations, the state-run gaming regulator is in close coordination with several government agencies such as the Philippine National Police, National Bureau of Investigation, and the Department of Information and Technology.
“It is for the above reasons that PAGCOR had to step in to regulate the emerging industry to primarily protect the Filipino players and to ensure that the government get its appropriate share of revenues from their operations. Without regulation, e-Sabong will proliferate and have far reaching detrimental effects on its players.”
There are currently four licensed e-Sabong operators in the Philippines with 12 more awaiting accreditation, according to comments made by PAGCOR chair Andrea Domingo to local media last week.
The industry is seen as a more stable means of filling the gap left by the decline of the POGO industry, which has seen the number of licensees fall from 60 to 33 and accredited service providers under their watch from 300 to 167 since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.