Sabong is the local term for cockfighting. While it is a part of the local culture, outsiders often consider it a brutal blood sport. Still, legal Sabong betting is quite popular in the Philippines. There are also illegal channels hosting betting options.
Betting on cockfighting is one of the most trafficked wagering markets in the country. This page was created exclusively for bettors interested in legally wagering on Sabong. You will find information on the sport itself as well as an in-depth examination of the Philippine legal online sports betting framework.
Is It Legal To Bet On Sabong In The Philippines?
Despite a negative outlook on the sport by some, cockfighting is 100% legal in the eyes of the Philippine government and a protected tradition by Philippine gambling laws. It was written into law in 1974 under then-President Ferdinand Marcos. Residents can place bets on cockfighting in regulated games or test their luck in illegal underground games.
The former are sanctioned by the government while the latter is a part of local criminal enterprises. We do not condone any sort of illegal activity. Not only is it illegal to engage in unsanctioned gambling activities, but it can also place you in a dangerous environment, associated with questionable individuals. Our goal is just to provide accurate information on the topic.
Sabong Online Betting: Can I Bet On Cockfighting Through Licensed Offshore Sportsbooks?
No, the online sportsbooks we suggest do not offer betting lines for e-Sabong at this time, but there is hope for it in the near future due to the demand. If you are looking to wager on other combat sports in the Philippines such as MMA, boxing, or wrestling, or other traditional sports such as tennis, basketball, rugby or soccer, then offshore online sports betting sites accepting Philippines bettors are the way to go.
Legal Online Sportsbooks Accepting Philippines Residents
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Legal v. Illegal Sabong Betting Pits In The Philippines
Most legal cockfighting pits are held in stadiums or outdoor arenas in various regions throughout the country. Many residents take up betting on cockfighting as a leisure activity while others consider it their profession. You can make a lot of money in sabong if you bet carefully. Illegal cockfighting venues are often shanty poor operations put on by local mobsters or bootlegging outfits.
These illegal venues are frequently raided by government officials in hopes of putting a stop to illegal sabong gambling efforts. Betting in a legal or illegal venue has different procedures for how the event works, the wagering structure and more. We cover these topics in the next couple of sections.
OTB Sabong Betting: e-Sabong
In the Philippines, "off-track betting" (OTB) on sabong (also called "e-sabong") is considered to be a legal gray area. PAGCOR has been determined to have the authority to authorize the pastime to be wagered on at venues away from the sabong pits themselves, the same way horseplayers can bet on horses at kiosks around the country. However, this is controversial, and PAGCOR has not authorized any official e-sabong outlets as of this time.
Currently, there is a movement in the Philippine congress to eliminate e-sabong. Known as House Bill 8910, the law has been unanimously approved by the legislature in early 2019, but the bill has not yet been signed into law by President Rodrigo Duterte. The proposed ban on e-sabong will likely be revisited sometime during the 2020 or 2021 legislative sessions. Due to overwhelming support for the bill, it is likely that it will become the law of the land sooner than later.
How Do Legal Sabong Fighting Pits Work?
Cockfights are conducted in several stages. The first stage, the Ulatan, is when the fighting cocks are paired up based on physical qualities—height, weight, wingspan, etc. This helps establish fairness with the matches. Legal cockfights have a better system for maintaining this whereas illegal matches are susceptible to cheating, mismatching, etc. Cocks are fitted with a sickle blade on their left foot.
The second step takes place in the arena, otherwise known as the Ruweda. The 2 owners of the cocks stand in the ring as well as a referee. The announcer is known as the Casador and the ref is known as the Sentensyador. While the referee provides structure, the winner is often quite indicative based on how the fight goes. In other words, it is obvious to tell who won by the end of the match. Once the decision is made, there can be no appeals made to the ref.
Before the match begins, owners hold both cocks close to each other until they start pecking. Spectators get a chance to see which appears to be more aggressive. This helps influence betting. After that, each cock walks around the arena, essentially giving bettors one last visual cue on which to bet on.
How Does Betting on Legal Cockfighting Work?
Betting on sabong is a chaotic process. Once the announcer gives the cue, the audience begins yelling their wagers out. This is because bets are typically placed from the stands. Several Kristos, as they are called, take wagers using a series of hand signals. In order to successfully place a wager, bettors must make eye contact with a Kristo and make a hand motion.
You first must point to either side of the arena to indicate the favorite or the underdog. Then, you motion how many pesos you wish to wager by either pointing up (signals 10P per finger), sideways (100P per finger) or down (1,000P per finger). Valuations may differ based on where you are betting. The entire betting window lasts about 3-4 minutes, which is why this portion is so chaotic.
Bettors are wagering either on the Meron, or the champion/favored bird, or the Wala, or underdog. Merons can achieve this status by surviving past fights or through semi-corrupt methods. For example, an owner or breeder may be well-known or have a lot of influence in the cockfighting community, thus giving their bird a reputation prior to the match.
Merons often have the best diets, pens, and vitamins available to them to increase their chances of winning. It is common for a piece of blue tape to be attached to the Meron to distinguish it during the fight. Walas is the newcomer or underdog bird. Betting on the Wala will get you a much higher payout if it wins, but there is a greater chance it loses. Walas typically have a piece of red/orange tape attached to help distinguish it from the other bird.
This is the format for legal Philippines sabong betting. Illegal operations may follow a similar format or tweak the hand signals, betting structure, etc. Since those matches are not regulated, those running them can do whatever they want.