The Recent Rise of Online Sabong in the Philippines

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Photo by luxiangjian4711 on iStock

Written by: Mitch De Guzman

Have you ever wondered why sabong or cockfight recently turned into online sabong?

The answer is simple. Businesses and marketing, schools, entertainment, and retail are not the only ones going digital. For better or worse, gambling, too, has moved online. Online casinos have been around for a while, but they focus primarily on traditional casino games like roulette, card games, and slot machines. Betting on live sports such as cockfighting, on the other hand, is a unique concept.

SABONG AS AN INFLUENTIAL CULTURAL VICE

Sabong has cultural and symbolic importance in the Philippines. It is primarily a male-oriented activity. According to one study, men do it to boost their stature. The adrenaline rush that comes with winning enhances their self-esteem. It gives them power and superiority over their unfortunate competitors, highlighting the importance of social class and status in Philippine society.

GAMECOCKS AS A STATUS SYMBOL

Clear evidence of social class is the gamecocks. The wealthy have expensive gamecock pedigrees that are trained for big money derby contests–and bred to kill. In contrast, rural residents raise and prepare their low-pedigreed fighting cocks, typically for hack battles. 

It’s akin to a King’s sport for the wealthy, a display of machismo, vanity, and luxury. They are willing to invest money in gamecocks and lose money without blinking an eye. While regular folks bet their little earnings and savings on their rural-bred cocks in the hopes of winning the highest stake.

TRAINED TO HACK

Gamecocks aren’t your average roosters. They go through a rigorous training regimen aimed to teach them survival skills and the art of killing. That’s why they are well cared for because they have to be conditioned for battle. Not only that. They are treated like athletes, with a diet, energy boosters, and supplements. These include tonics, B-complex and B12 shots, stimulants, multivitamins, and even pre-fight testosterone doses.

This bloodsport between gamecocks has been practiced for over 6000 years. And it has become a favorite pastime among most Filipino men. Hence, fighting roosters is typical in every town activity and personal occasions like fiestas, weddings even funerals. It has become a familiar sight in almost every community, which may have influenced its legalization. 

President Ferdinand Marcos approved this animal bloodsport via Presidential Decree No. 499 in 1974, citing it as an instrument to preserve and perpetuate native Filipino history and national identity. The law gave the culture of cockfight betting legal validity.

Cockfights are entirely legal in the Philippines, as shown by the derbies held in around 2500 cockpits. It piques the curiosity not only of Filipinos but also foreigners, much to the chagrin of animal rights activists and the clergy. As a result, cockfighting grew into a booming multibillion-dollar industry until the pandemic struck.

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THE RISE OF ONLINE SABONG

When the health crisis hit, cockpit operations, like all businesses, came to a halt. Although Congress allowed online and offline cockfight betting in December 2020, the full implementation of online betting did not occur until June of this year. 

As soon as the Senate passed the lawimposing a 5% amusement tax on internet gambling, PAGCOR moved fast to streamline the licensing of online betting firms to increase government revenue. Since casinos are not permitted to operate, the agency’s income has dropped dramatically. 

LIST OF LICENSED E-SABONG OPERATORS

PAGCOR has already given licenses to four companies as of August 2021, as follows:

Company Name Brand Name

Lucky8 Starquest Pitmasters Live   

Belvedere Corp Sabong Express

E Sports Encuentro Live Corp. Encuentro Live

Visayas Cockers Club Inc. Sabong International PH

Some, however, operate without a license. Although not entirely unlawful, it is best that bettors exercise caution when placing wagers.

HOW TO PARTICIPATE IN ONLINE SABONG

The game mechanics are the same for online and traditional cockfights. Like a boxing match, two fighting cocks will be placed in the same ring to fight each other. If boxers wear gloves, these birds have sharp knives or steel spurs called “tari” tied to their feet. This is so they can wound and kill one another quickly. 

Cock handlers can assess the competition and select a worthy opponent for their peckers beforehand. They can also check the rooster’s breed, stance, weight, head size, feathers quality, and temperament. Once they find the perfect match, the game judges will take over.

The owners and their fighting cocks will be assigned a corner: the “meron” for the crowd favorite and “wala” for the underdog. The corners are also color-coded- red for “Meron” and blue for “wala.” The fight will begin after the traditional betting and presentation of the regulations. 

A typical battle lasts for 15 minutes, but sometimes they can last for 30 minutes if both cocks remain strong throughout the match. The “sentensyador,” or referee, will pick up the roosters at the end of the game. To claim victory, the triumphant cock must peck the vanquished opponent twice. If it’s unreciprocated, it is then considered the winner.

The reward in a single match is determined by numerous factors, including the amount wagered and the current odds.

DIFFERENCE BETWEEN ONLINE & TRADITIONAL BETTING

Online and traditional cockfight bettings are similar. One either bet on the red or blue rooster. However, in a physical cockpit arena, a handler called “Kristo” collects the money. [By the way, cockpit dealers are referred to as Kristo because they are believed to be as trustworthy as Jesus Christ.] Bettors place their bets on a cock through the use of calls and hand signals which they must be familiar with to complete a wager. In online sabong, bettors need not worry about these complicated hand signals to place a wager. You just set your bets using credits. 

 In traditional cockfights, the crowd favorite is also called “llamado.” It could be due to its form or breed that makes it as such. The underdog is called “dejado.” While betting on the “llamado” increases one’s chances of winning, the reward is substantially lower. On the other hand, placing a wager on the dejado gives one more significant returns. 

To be a successful bettor, one must first understand the mechanics of the game and some of the terms being used in cockfights. He might have problems betting if he is unfamiliar with the terminology and the order of play.

The payout per match depends on several factors, including the amount wagered and the current odds. It can offer anything from a 10% to a 100% return. Still, bettors may be required to pay a ‘plasada’ or arena fee in regular cockpits, and they’ll depend on “Kristo” to determine the cash reward unless they’re already an expert and good in math. However, in online sabong, they don’t have to compute because they will already see the total pot money and corresponding payout on the screen. 

There will be times when a draw is necessary. A tie occurs when both fighting cocks die or are seriously injured. If, after nine minutes, neither of them has inflicted a mortal slash, the judge declares a tie, indicating that there is no winner for that game.

OFFSHORE CASINOS

Some licensed offshore internet casinos and sportsbooks do not accept wagers on cockfights or other bloodsports. Although they promote cockfighting in the Philippines, many of these platforms are not allowed or licensed to carry bets from Filipino participants.

And if one do find a website that accepts and processes online sabong betting, he cannot guarantee its safety, security, and overall betting experience. Hence, bettors should exercise caution when dealing with them.

Photo by Online Sabong Game

PARTY SABONG

Party sabong is the grand gathering of cockfight participants from different parts of the country – “sabungeros,” breeders, and bettors. While the definition may differ in contexts and other places, it remains one of the most popular and highly regarded cockfighting events. The significance of this grand derby is the participation of numerous players from different parts of the Philippines.  

Party Sabong, on the other hand, has a different version. The same name is used for a famous online betting program that is not recognized or licensed by PAGCOR. Furthermore, it uses a third-party program or an unknown source to access your device.

Google does not track programs downloaded from third-party sources. Therefore, it may be detrimental to mobile phones. In addition, APK files may contain viruses that might harm your mobile phones or steal your personal data. It’s still safe to bet on licensed and regulated online derbies.

REGISTRATION IS A REQUIREMENT

Due to the simplicity it provides, sabong online betting has become a popular option for many sabong enthusiasts. They may engage in premium cockfights and watch live battles on their phone, tablet, or computer. However, bettors must first complete the following steps to enter the virtual arena. 

HOW TO REGISTER:

  1. Visit your preferred online sabong website.
  2. Fill up the registration form. You must put the correct information for verification. 
  3. Verify your mobile phone number through the OTP 
  4. Select the game you want to watch or play.
  5. Add credits through GCash or other payment channels available.

For Android users, download the e-sabong app from Google Playstore to your mobile phones, and follow the instructions outlined above.

The minimum bet is P 100; but, participants can bet as much as they wish. Claiming rewards is easy, as the registration process. They can cash out with just a few taps or transfer their money to their accounts. They’ll just need to select the payment method and input the account details, then wait. The average transaction processing time is 24 hours. Should you have questions or need assistance with the process, you can contact their live service.

SIDE HUSTLE OPTIONS

Many are looking for a work-from-home job. And one of their options is to be sales agents, resellers, or partners to any of the registered online sabong operators. There is no requirement in terms of investment or any specific skills. When one becomes an agent, he may improve his communication and leadership abilities. All they have to do is sign up and provide proper identification.

Another option is to set set up an off-cockpit betting (OCB) venue. One must, of course, have a valid online sabong account to do this. For reference, the things needed are the following:

  • OCB gadgets
  • TV for sabong streaming
  • Staff to collect the bets
  • Internet connection

In these OCB venues, one may place his bets and cash out right away. He’ll also appreciate the camaraderie. He just needs to ensure that he follows all health regulations, notably social distancing and wearing of face masks. 

YOUR BEST BET

Streamtech Fiber Internet to play online sabong

Online gambling will continue to rise, as will the demand for reliable internet connections. Additionally, gambling is a highly competitive industry in which players must make split-second decisions. Game participants require real-time information on the most recent payouts, incentives, and promotions. If your internet connection lags or disconnects at any point, you may lose gamers to competitors without even realizing it.

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