The Philippines Edges Closer to Legal Cockfighting Gambling

The Philippines is edging closer to passing up a definite law that will regulate cockfighting in the country, which is a popular but outlawed activity presently.

Cockfighting Finds New Regulatory Framework in the Philippines

The Philippines is now moving quickly to set up a legal framework that would regulate cockfighting, an activity that has been carried out in seedy back alleys and abandoned industrial sites, and which remains increasingly popular in the country.

In a bid to leave no stone unturned, the Philippines Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) has now green lighted a move that allows local governments to start clamping down on illegitimate cockfighting contests, known as e-sabong in the local patois.

Now, though, cockfighting enthusiasts need not hide any longer, as a House Committee has approved the legalization of the activity, with substitute tax bill brought online, and extending to derbies as well as cockfights. New taxes are welcome, especially when they target casinos for the benefit of the public, PAGCOR and lawmakers believe.

Regulating and Taxing Cockfights and Derbies

That is a second bill passed to regulate the questionable segment, as previously, a bill was introduced to help the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) collect a 5% tax based on the gross receipts of the activity from off-site betting verticals and specifically targeting licensed cockfights and derby events.

These so-called off-site betting verticals pertain specifically to placing, accepting and facilitating bets on the outcome of cockfights, whether this is done in person or over the Internet. The bill doesn’t extend to licensed operations by PAGCOR or the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO).

Thanks to the efforts by lawmakers, cockfighting will be brought into the light, making it a legalized and unambiguous area of betting contest, although some pushback will undoubtedly follow from the public.

Suspending Cockfights at the Behest of Authorities

While the central government has been trying to introduce a clear-cut framework towards the regulation of cockfighting, many local authorities have focused on suspending illegal derbies. The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) suspended similar activities in Janiuay municipality of the Iloilo province not so long over a contention from the DILG that such events had not been authorized.

Local arrests have been commonplace, with people being brought on charges of illegal cockfighting and the associated gambling. Illegal cockfighting has been going on for some time in the Philippines with little to no way for authorities to regulate it completely, outside of arrests and acting on tips.

However, most gamblers who participate are reluctant to talk to authorities as it would deprive them of a cherished hobby. Having the vertical regulated would mean that authorities can collect tax and then use it to the benefit of the public purse as well as clamp down on illegal operations to begin with.

Arrests have been regular in the Philippines which has experience with unregulated gambling operations.

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