Online betting on cockfights or the activity also referred to as e-sabong was incredibly popular in the Philippines. E-sabong helped generate invaluable revenue for different institutions including banks such as the Philippine Business Bank (PBP). However, after information regarding e-sabong-related crimes emerged, the Philippines lawmakers decided to outlaw the activity earlier this year. Now, a new report reveals that the ban on online betting on cockfights resulted in millions in losses.
The Ban on E-sabong Brings Financial Strain, Unemployment
Banning e-sabong resulted in an estimate of PHP5 billion ($88 million) in revenue lost. This vital revenue would otherwise help banks such as the PBP. In a recent report by the Manila Bulletin, the PBP’s president, Roland Avante, revealed that all revenue is incredibly important, especially amid the ongoing financial rebound from the global COVID-19 pandemic. He explained that the Philippine government needs revenue to help its people. Avante also pointed out that the ban on e-sabong put an end to a billion-dollar industry which ultimately impacted the PBP. What’s more, he spoke in favor of lifting the ban on the activity. According to Avante, e-sabong deserved a second chance, considering its economic impact on operators, bettors as well as banks.
“We are running an economy that needs all the funding that it can get especially now that we are still existing amid the pandemic and we all know that the funds needed by the government to be able to sustain its support to the people.“
Roland Avante, president of the Philippine Business Bank
But the ban on e-sabong did not bring only revenue loss. Last month, The Manila Standard revealed that the ban on the activity resulted in losing 3.2 million jobs. The ban impacted workers and e-sabong operators. Also affected were breeders, companies involved in grain production and veterinaries.
E-Sabong Started a Crime Wave
E-sabong was a popular activity until it was declared illegal in May. The ban came after a string of e-sabong-related crimes. One shocking incident dates back to March this year when a Filipino woman pawned her baby to cover an e-sabong debt. The 22-year-old mother had an $870 outstanding gambling debt and took an unwise decision to contact a human trafficker which she found online. After the “transaction” was completed, the woman admitted her crime which resulted in arrests by the police and the retrieval of the toddler.
Other incidents relate to the disappearance of 34 people earlier this year. The disappearances of people, that are believed to be related to e-sabong, resulted in large-scale investigations.