12/29/2022, 14.53
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Marcos Jr bans online cockfight betting

The Philippine president signs an executive order formally banning e-sabong, which Duterte had ordered but never implemented. Growing exponentially during the pandemic, this form of gambling was initially tolerated by the Philippine government because of the revenues it brought to government coffers. But in April, a Senate report found that as many as 34 people linked to the business went missing.

Manila (AsiaNews/Agencies) – Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr has confirmed the suspension of e-sabong, online cockfight betting.

In an executive order issued yesterday, the president called the ban an "urgent need", stressing that the government “has the paramount obligation to protect public health and morals and promote public safety and general welfare.”

Marcos’s immediate predecessor, Rodrigo Duterte, had ordered the suspension of this form of gambling but without an explicit directive.

E-sabong grew exponentially in the Philippines during the pandemic. With lockdown, betting on such fights, a form of gambling very rooted in the country, moved online with rising earnings.

Initially Duterte seemed reluctant to stop an activity that brought 640 million pesos in monthly revenues (around US$ 11.5 million) to government coffers.

However, back in April, a report by a Senate committee noted that as many as 34 people went missing in connection with e-sabong, which led the Department of the Interior to press the president to ban it.

Now Marcos Jr's order makes it formal, outlawing on live-streaming cockfights outside of authorised fighting arenas, regardless of the location of the betting platform.

The Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (Pagcor) was tasked with ensuring that the order is enforced in consultation with local government units and the police, taking appropriate action against anyone violating the law.

Photo: Flickr / Vincent Supetran

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