GLOBE Fintech Innovations Inc. (GFII) admitted in a statement it has no power to “completely prevent individuals with criminal intent” in engaging minors to participate in e-sabong. A lawmaker, however, has and asked those with that power to pull the plug on the online cockfight gambling platform.
GCash-operator GFII, however, emphasized in a statement issued last Tuesday that the company strictly complies with regulations concerning e-Sabong. The firm added it complies with the guidelines set by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) and the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC) “in promoting safety and security among users.” The company also emphasized it adheres to the know-your-customer (KYC) process to verify the legitimacy of GCash users.
This, it said, helps in the prevention of the participation of minors in Pitmasters or e-Sabong. However, GCash noted that minors “can possibly use GCash” for e-Sabong if they gain access through rented, illegally sold, or falsified accounts.
“Unfortunately, even with the best technology and security measures in place, we cannot completely prevent individuals with criminal intent from selling, renting out or allowing others to use their identities or their GCash accounts,” the statement from GFII read.
The company also asked users “to protect their identities and accounts and report any incident of misuse” to authorities.
The lucrative cockfighting betting game was recently made online, after e-money license holders like GCash allowed the facilitation of bets through their platforms.
GFII’s statement was issued the same day a lawmaker has filed a resolution urging the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (Pagcor) to immediately halt the operations of online cockfighting or e-sabong.
In his House Resolution (HR) 2512, Deputy Speaker Bienvenido M. Abante Jr. urged Pagcor “to immediately suspend e-sabong operations until concrete measures can be put in place to guarantee the safety of e-sabong personnel and participants.”
The Manila 6th District representative also said that Pagcor can already suspend e-sabong operations as it is mandated under its Charter “to regulate, operate, authorize and license games of chance, games of cards and games of numbers, including e-sabong.”
The lawmaker said there are currently seven companies that are licensed to conduct e-sabong operations. These are: Belvedere Vista Corp.; Lucky 8 Star Quest Inc.; Visayas Cockers Club Inc.; Jade Entertainment and Gaming Technologies Inc.; Newin Cockers Alliance Gaming Corp.; Philippine Cockfighting International Inc.; and, Golden Buzzer Inc.
According to Abante, there are estimates that e-sabong operators gross as much as P1.5 billion a day from bets placed on the online cockfights.
ABANTE issued his statements after reports of the disappearance of sabungeros (cockfighters).
“Since April 2021, a total of 31 sabungeros have been reported missing, none of whom have surfaced or have been found by law enforcement authorities,” the lawmaker said.
Citing a Senate hearing, Abante said the Philippine National Police confirmed that three additional persons involved in e-sabong have been reported missing, bringing to 34 the total number of online cockfighting personnel that have disappeared since last year.
“As a result of the disappearances, an inquiry into the disappearance of the e-sabong personnel was conducted by the Senate and unearthed various issues with regard to e-sabong, including the questionable legal bases for online cockfighting, allegations of game-fixing to benefit big-time bettors, and the dangers posed by online gambling,” he said.
“In light of the many concerns raised regarding the conduct of online cockfighting operations, 23 Senators signed a resolution urging Pagcor to suspend the e-sabong licenses of the seven e-sabong operators pending the resolution of the missing cockfighters,” he added.