The Illegality of Online Sabong: Examining the Ban in the Philippines

In recent years, online cockfighting, also known as “e-sabong,” has become a controversial phenomenon in the Philippines. Despite its initial surge in popularity, online sabong has been deemed illegal, raising questions about the legal framework, the reasoning behind the ban, and the ongoing efforts to enforce it.

Falling Under the Umbrella of Illegal Gambling:

While the primary anti-gambling law in the Philippines, Presidential Decree No. 1602 (PD 1602), doesn’t explicitly mention online cockfighting, legal interpretations classify it as an illegal gambling activity that should not be offered in any licensed platform like bigwin 29. PD 1602 prohibits “cockfighting for a consideration,” which essentially translates to wagering money on the outcome of a cockfight. 

Since online sabong involves placing bets on the results, it falls within the broader category of activities prohibited by the law.

Further solidifying the ban, former President Rodrigo Duterte issued Executive Order No. 9 (EO 9) in December 2022. This executive order specifically outlawed the live streaming and online betting associated with cockfighting. This decree provided a more transparent legal basis for enforcement of the existing ban.

Beyond Legality: The Concerns Surrounding Online Sabong:

The illegality of online sabong goes beyond legal interpretations and technicalities. Several significant concerns highlight the potential harm associated with this practice:

  • Escalation of Gambling and Addiction: The readily accessible nature of online platforms can significantly increase the potential for problem gambling. Individuals, particularly those susceptible to addiction, might find themselves easily drawn into a cycle of repeated bets and financial loss, impacting their personal lives and potentially leading to debt and hardship.
  • Animal Cruelty: Cockfighting inherently involves animal cruelty, causing significant suffering and injuries to the birds involved. The practice raises serious ethical concerns and has faced growing opposition from animal rights groups and the wider public.
  • Links to Criminal Activities: Concerns exist regarding potential associations between online sabong and organized crime. The large sums of money involved can attract criminal elements, raising worries about illegal money laundering activities and the infiltration of criminal organizations into the online cockfighting scene.
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The Road to Enforcement: Challenges and Efforts:

Despite the ban, the complete eradication of online sabong has proven challenging. Some individuals and groups continue to engage in these activities, albeit with increased scrutiny and risk of apprehension. To enforce the ban effectively, the government has undertaken various initiatives:

  • Blocking Websites and Apps: Authorities actively work to identify and block websites and mobile applications facilitating online sabong activities. This involves collaborating with internet service providers (ISPs) to restrict access to these platforms.
  • Apprehension of Individuals: Law enforcement agencies have conducted operations to apprehend individuals who organize and operate online cockfighting activities. This includes targeting individuals managing online platforms, cockfight organizers, and facilitators of illegal betting activities.
  • Raising Public Awareness: Public awareness campaigns play a crucial role in informing individuals about the illegality of online sabong and its associated risks. This can help individuals make informed decisions and avoid participation in these activities.


The illegality of online sabong in the Philippines stems from both legal interpretations and the significant concerns surrounding its potential negative consequences. While challenges remain in enforcing the ban completely, the government’s ongoing efforts highlight the commitment to tackling this issue and protecting individuals and animals from the potential harms associated with online cockfighting. Continued vigilance, collaboration between different stakeholders, and public awareness campaigns are crucial in effectively addressing this complex issue.


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