Pagcor chief Domingo: E-sabong stopped "immediately" | Inquirer Business
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Pagcor chief Domingo: E-sabong stopped “immediately”

By: - Reporter / @bendeveraINQ
/ 05:20 PM May 03, 2022
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MANILA, Philippines—Following the order of President Rodrigo Duterte, the state-run gambling regulator Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (Pagcor) has stopped e-sabong, or online cockfighting, nationwide.

“Pagcor has to implement the President’s decision to stop e-sabong operations immediately,” said Pagcor Chair Andrea Domingo in a text message on Tuesday (May 3) shortly after Duterte’s order was reported by media.

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“The executive secretary will issue a formal memorandum to this effect, and we will serve the appropriate notice to the Pagcor-regulated e-sabong operators,” said Domingo.

“We will also inform the Commission on Audit (COA) auditor officially that starting today, there will no longer be revenues collected from e-sabong operations,” Domingo said.

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Citing Pagcor’s estimates, Domingo said this immediate halt in e-sabong games would result in revenue losses amounting to P4 billion to P5 billion this year.

Last week, Domingo told an online forum that e-sabong generates P650 million in monthly revenues. She had said Pagcor could collect up to P8 billion in revenues from e-sabong in 2021.

Last year, Pagcor collected P3.7 billion from e-sabong. While such games started with only one licensed operator when Pagcor started regulating it in early 2021, the number of legal e-sabong operators jumped to eight by the end of 2021, Domingo earlier said.

But Domingo had said that while e-sabong accounted for only 8-10 percent of Pagcor’s income, the controversies — including missing persons and alleged deaths attributed to the games — was making it harder to regulate the gaming industry as a whole.

As such, Domingo had said that Pagcor wanted a separate, dedicated regulator for all cockfighting games, including e-sabong, to better monitor them.

E-sabong, or online betting for live-streamed cockfights, which flourished amid COVID-19 lockdowns, had been supervised by Pagcor. On the other hand, local governments regulated actual cockfighting in their areas.

Domingo had noted that Pagcor has no control over local government units (LGU) which may promote or regulate cockfighting locally.

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But Domingo had said the number of e-sabong operators already dwindled to three big active players — which accounted for 85 percent of the sector’s total income — at present. Three more e-sabong operators had sought to suspend operations as they were losing money, she had disclosed.

Last week, Pagcor reported that its net income climbed 309.3 percent year-on-year to P624.7 million during the first quarter of 2022, as further economic reopening allowed more regulated gambling to resume and raise gaming revenues by 35.1 percent to P11.3 billion.

The domestic gaming industry’s revenues (GGR) were projected to reach P60-65 billion — almost double of 2021 earnings — by end-2022, Domingo had said.

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TAGS: Andrea Domingo, cockfighting, e-sabong, online betting, Pagcor, Rodrigo Duterte
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