2022 UPDATE: As a result of presidential decree, online cockfighting – aka eSabong – is current illegal in the Philippines. The pastime was briefly legal through most of 2021 and early 2022, but a “kidnapping” scandal rocked the industry and caused the government to suspend all e-Sabong services indefinitely. In-person cockfighting at regulated cockpits remains legal in the Philippines.
In the Philippines, sabong is the oldest, most cherished national pastime. As a result, live sabong betting in the Philippines at cockpits nationwide represent the most popular local wagering events.
Still, 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 an Internet near you!
Is e-Sabong Legal In The Philippines?
As of 2022, e-Sabong is not included as an authorized market per Philippine gambling law, as online sports betting – including online cockfighting betting – is not available in a regulated domestic capacity to Filipino gamblers.
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 2022 or 2023, with regulated betting outlets (i.e. cockfighting OTBs) being up and running as soon as they’re allowed.
The PH gaming industry simply wishes to bring e-Sabong out of the shadows and have it be regulated like other online sports wagering, taking advantage of modern connected technology to boost the national sport to new heights.
Top Online Sportsbooks For Legal Philippines Sports Betting
While no offshore sportsbook serving PH residents currently accepts wagers on sabong, this makes sense, as the sport is very localized and the matchups are largely made on the fly as sabong manok (“cockfighting chicken”) owners shop their champion roosters among contenders on the spot. Logistically, this makes it difficult for international sportsbook operators to have the relevant information to post odds on such matchups.
However, the following sites offer a host of other popular Philippines sports betting markets, including PBA betting, baseball betting, boxing betting, eSports betting and more, and they’re legal and safe to use for all Filipino sports bettors aged 18 and up.
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What Is e-Sabong?
Basically, 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.
Philippines e-Sabong Laws – HB 8910
While there are no Philippine gambling laws regarding e-Sabong that are currently enacted in the Philippines, legislation to outlaw underground online cockfighting has been introduced and overwhelmingly approved at the congressional level. Called House Bill 8910, this law is awaiting the signature of President Rodrigo Duterte as of late 2021.
HB 8910 would not only make black market online sabong illegal, but it would also give oversight of the market to the government’s gambling regulators, who would then legalize the pastime and standardize many aspects of the sabong betting industry as a whole.
Details of HB 8910 – which merges HB 4843 (“An Act Strengthening The Games And Amusements Board And For Other Purposes”) and HB 6983 (“An Act Strengthening The Role Of The Games And Amusements Board In The Operation Of Cockfighting In The Philippines, Amending The Cockfighting Law Of 1974 And For Other Purposes”) – include the following items, among others:
- Expand the GAB (Games and Amusements Board) with regulatory and judicial sabong oversight
- Supervise and regulate all professional sports, including sabong
- License all sports-related bodies and athletes, including cockpit operators
- Tax collection of gate receipts at cockfights
- Testing standardization for all sports, including sabong
- Increase sabong chicken fight oversight with new rules
- Bar illegal e-Sabong while legalizing domestic e-Sabong in a regulated capacity
- Create the Philippines Anti-Illegal Gambling Unit
Clearly, when it comes to e-Sabong, there are some very important allowances in HB 8910. Once the bipartisan bill is signed and goes into law, e-Sabong is expected to be the first form of domestically legal online gambling in the islands, and it could open the door to expanded online sports betting for Filipino punters.
Who Regulates e-Sabong Betting In The Philippines?
Currently, there is no regulatory body involved in e-Sabong, which operates in an unlicensed and unsanctioned manner. This is a problem, as the popularity of Philippines cockfighting means that a lot of money is changing hands underground.
The government wishes to bring a legal framework to this industry in order to normalize the sport with comprehensive rules, systems, and oversight, as well as to tax a portion of the proceeds involved. Once that happens, two main government agencies will oversee all e-Sabong activities throughout the country:
- PAGCOR – The Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation
- GAB – The Philippine Games and Amusements Board
While these two Philippines government bodies will have different duties in the new e-Sabong online betting marketplace, their jurisdictions will likely overlap as they work together to legitimize online sabong and regulate the cockfighting industry with greater and more comprehensive standards.
Types Of e-Sabong Betting Odds
If you’ve ever bet on sabong, you’ll know what to expect with e-Sabong betting odds. These should be largely the same types of cockfighting odds you’re used to.
However, if you’re new to cockfighting or are a non-Filipino traveling to the islands and wish to experience this cultural mainstay, you will need to know what the basic terms mean regarding the betting payouts associated with them. These are the following:
- Parehas: 100 wins 100 (+100)
- Lo dies: 100 wins 125 (+125)
- Walo-anim: 300 wins 400 (+133)
- Onse: 400 wins 550 (+138)
- Tres: 1000 wins 1500 (+150)
- Sampu-anim: 600 wins 1000 (+167)
- Doblado: 1000 wins 2000 (+200)
While the above sabong odds are the most commonly offered at the cockpits themselves, this is largely a function of ease and convenience for the bookmakers.
With legal e-Sabong betting, more odds variations will likely be in play, though it is unknown how many prop bets and ancillary bets – if any – will be offered. After all, sabong betting is extremely traditional, akin to Philippines horse racing betting in its rigorous structure and options.
Philippines Mobile e-Sabong Betting Apps
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 is already how the majority of Filipino punters wager on athletics, rather than placing their bets at retail or online 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.
Major e-Sabong Events And Cockfighting Derbies
Cockfighting derbies are held almost daily in the Philippines, all across the islands’ many regions. Some are sponsored by local companies, many are standalone events, and still others are parts of larger tournaments. Listing all of them here would be impossible.
That said, there is one major cockfighting tournament that is considered the “Olympics of Cockfighting,” and that’s the World Slasher Cup, which is held annually in the Philippines and draws gamecocks from all around the globe to compete for the top prize.
International sabong tournaments consider the Philippines their spiritual home even when held abroad, and regulated e-Sabong will also include these international events for locals to wager on.
Another major event with ties to sabong (and, thus, e-Sabong) is the World Gamefowl Expo. This is a trade show for the entire global gamefowl industry, and it’s a technological and breeding showcase unlike any other. The World Gamefowl Expo is often held in the Philippines given the country’s commitment to the community at large.
Philippines Legal e-Sabong Betting FAQs
Is e-Sabong legal to bet on in the Philippines?
Not right now. As of 2022, e-Sabong is unofficially banned by PAGCOR and the GAB, which makes it unlawful.
However, we expect legal e-Sabong betting to be available in the Philippines within the next year or two, as there is already lots of industrial support for the pastime once needed reforms are made.
Is e-Sabong ethical?
Of course. That said, it’s true that many western societies do not traditionally uphold cockfighting as a part of their national identities, and thus the national sport of the Philippines is often decried as unethical by foreign observers and pundits who are fundamentally disconnected from the pastime.
However, sabong is an important part of the Philippine culture, and e-Sabong will make the game even safer for bettors, owners, cockpit operators, and fighting cocks alike.
Sabong is definitely not for everyone, and nobody is forced to participate in the action. However, if you’re ever in the Philippines and wish to experience sabong first-hand, it’s a phenomenon not to be missed.
Why don’t legal Philippines online sports betting sites offer e-Sabong betting lines?
Because of the often impromptu nature of sabong derbies and especially underground e-Sabong events, international sportsbooks like those listed here cannot get betting lines posted in time to take meaningful wagers on the events in question.
This will make e-Sabong, once legal, a distinctly local event supported by local sportsbooks. That said, you may occasionally find lines on the biggest sabong tournaments, like the World Slasher Cup, at the best offshore Philippines sports betting sites.
Will I have to register to bet on e-Sabong derbies?
This remains to be seen, and it could very well be a part of the legal framework surrounding regulated Philippine e-Sabong in the future. As it currently stands, the brick-and-mortar casino market in the islands requires that all players be registered and provide proof of income before they can gamble legally.
It is sensible that this provision would be extended to all online gambling that takes place domestically in the islands, but sabong is a betting sport for residents of all incomes, so the thresholds for participation will probably be very attainable for the vast majority of punters.
Where can I watch free e-Sabong video online?
There are several outlets that let you watch sabong live for free online, with live-streamed events as well as recent replays on offer. You can find these on YouTube, various online sabong forums, and dedicated streaming sites and apps. Some services require member registration, while others are free and open to all.
Will Sabong TV shows cover e-Sabong events?
It seems like a dead cert that e-Sabong events will be covered by official television programming outlets in the Philippines. A chief contender for such coverage is Sabong TV and the Sabong Nation TV5 show. However, we also expect that a number of other channels or shows will pop up once the e-Sabong market goes legit.
What are the best e-Sabong resources for Filipino bettors?
If you’re interested in cockfighting or online cockfighting, you have a number of resources at your disposal. These outlets cover all aspects of the fighting cock industry, keeping fans and punters in the know:
- Party Sabong – Sabong app run by Sabong International
- Pitmasters Live – Free live streaming sabong (aka Pitmasters Sabong)
- Sabong 101 – YouTube channel
- Sabong Master – Live sabong video site
- Sabong Phoenix – Facebook Group
- Sabong Pilipinas – Facebook Group
- Sabong Tambayan – Sabong Forum
- Sabong Tube – Full sabong and e-Sabong videos
- net – Online sabong fan community