The shutdown of online cockfighting or e-sabong has also affected financial institutions as the country lost an estimated P5 billion in potential revenue this year, a veteran banker said.
Philippine Business Bank president Roland Avante said while they are always prepared for the withdrawal of any major client as a financial institution, the bank also felt the impact of the shutdown of the $1-billion industry.
Revenues from e-sabong typically go through accredited banks, such as the Philippine Business Bank, which have partnerships with gaming centers as these also need to remit the share of the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation.
Avante said when e-sabong was still in operation, it helped some of PBB’s branches expand.
“Everybody deserves to be given a second chance… It is up to the government to take a look at it,” he said.
Avante said revenues from e-sabong can help the economy recover from the pandemic.
“We are running an economy that needs all the funding that it can get especially now that we are still under the pandemic. The funds needed by the government to be able to sustain its support to the people,” Avante said.
“If we are talking about P7 to 8 billion in possible taxes that can help the government, then it is worth considering,” he added.
He also said the issues surrounding e-sabong should be discussed in a wider context as it has an entire ecosystem running it—from banks to operators and bettors.
He said close regulation needs to be implemented to address concerns over the games.
Prior to its closure, e-sabong generates about P650 million per month since the start of the year.