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Legit E-Sabong Is Coming: DFNN Affiliate To Introduce Online Cockfights After Government Okay

PAGCOR says it’s a way to raise additional funds for COVID response.
IMAGE SAMIRAN CHAKRABORTY/UNSPLASH
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Listed company DFNN Group will soon offer online cockfighting or e-sabong as new gaming content from legal providers of the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR). The announcement comes following Malacañang’s directive to PAGCOR open up licenses to operate to e-sabong sites this month. 

DFNN, an IT solutions provider and systems integrator, says it will introduce the new e-sabong content through an affiliate.

“Given the experience and reach of the Group’s gaming platforms, it is well positioned to take on this new vertical in line with the PAGCOR rules of their approved content as it has unparalleled capabilities in secure payment solutions, KYC solutions, logistics capabilities, and proprietary IT knowledge to be able to scale rapidly and seamlessly integrate the technology with its other content,” the company said in a disclosure to the Philippine Stock Exchange. “This will enable the Group to deploy and realize value from e-sabong and funnel legal revenues to the government amid the proliferation of unregulated e-sabong on various social media platforms.”

PAGCOR granted the DFNN subsidiary a license to “offer a remote gaming platform” that allows “a certain part of gaming to take place in the privacy of the client’s own home” last November.  The regulator said it was a way to recoup revenues following the closure of casinos and gaming facilities due to the pandemic.

A Nikkei Asia report said that gross gaming revenues (GGR) from land-based casinos in the Philippines as of September 2020 fell to P73 billion, according to Pagcor. GGR was at a record P251 billion pesos in 2019. 

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Palace officials gave the order for PAGCOR to issue licenses to online sabong operators to raise additional funds to respond to the coronavirus pandemic. Earlier this week, PAGCOR chairperson and CEO Andrea Domingo said accredited e-sabong operators will start commercial operations this month.

Domingo said at least two e-sabong operators have already been issued authorities to operate, after fully submitting their paid-up capital and a performance bond of P75 million. She added that PAGCOR hopes to raise “anywhere from P250 million to P350 million” a month from online sabong.

A popular pastime in the Philippines, especially in rural areas, cockfighting has been banned since the start of community quarantines last year. But the Department of Interior and Local Government allowed the resumption of cockfighting in areas places under MGCQ (modified general community quarantine) last October.

Online sabong, however, falls under the jurisdiction of PAGCOR. Domingo has said that illegal operators of e-sabong sites have been raking in “huge revenues” while casinos remained closed.

PAGCOR recently granted online gaming licenses to the integrated resort casinos in Entertainment City such as Solaire, Resorts World, and Okada.

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Paul John Caña
Associate Editor, Esquire Philippines
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