Is Online Sabong in the Philippines Legal?

Sabong, or cockfighting, has been a popular and deeply ingrained tradition in the Philippines for centuries. However, the advent of technology and the internet has led to the emergence of online sabong platforms. While the traditional form of sabong is regulated and legally practiced in the Philippines, the legality of online sabong is a subject of debate and scrutiny. In this article, we will delve into the complex and evolving legal landscape of online sabong in the Philippines.

In the Philippines, traditional sabong is regulated by the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) and local government units. It is conducted in designated cockpits and follows a set of rules and regulations to ensure the safety and welfare of the gamecocks. Traditional sabong is legal and deeply ingrained in Filipino culture, often being used for entertainment and as a means of generating revenue for local governments.

Online sabong has gained significant popularity in recent years. These platforms allow individuals to place bets on cockfighting events from the comfort of their homes, using the internet to stream live matches. However, the rapid growth of online sabong has raised questions about its legality and regulation.

The legal status of online sabong is a contentious issue in the Philippines. Some argue that it operates in a legal gray area, while others contend that it is a clear violation of existing laws.

  1. Lack of Clear Regulation: One of the primary challenges with online sabong is the lack of clear regulation. While traditional sabong is well-regulated, online platforms often operate without clear oversight. This regulatory gap raises concerns about transparency and fair practices.

  2. Anti-Illegal Gambling Laws: Critics of online sabong argue that it violates the anti-illegal gambling laws in the Philippines. The country has a history of cracking down on unregulated gambling activities, and some believe that online sabong falls into this category.

  3. Regional Variations: Another complicating factor is that the legality of online sabong may vary depending on the region within the Philippines. Some local governments have imposed their own regulations and restrictions on online sabong activities.

  4. International Operators: Many online sabong platforms are operated by international companies. This introduces complexities related to jurisdiction and enforcement.

The Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) is the primary regulatory body for gambling activities in the Philippines. While PAGCOR has expressed concerns about online sabong, it has not issued clear guidelines or regulations specific to this digital form of the sport.


The legal status of online sabong in the Philippines remains a topic of debate and uncertainty. As the popularity of online sabong continues to grow, it is likely that regulations and oversight will evolve to address the legal ambiguities surrounding this digital adaptation of a traditional pastime.

Individuals interested in participating in online sabong should exercise caution and conduct thorough research to ensure that they are in compliance with local and national laws. It is essential to stay informed about any changes in regulations, and, when in doubt, seek legal advice to ensure full compliance with the law.

Ultimately, the future of online sabong in the Philippines may depend on the government’s ability to adapt regulations to the digital age while balancing the cultural significance of this traditional sport with the need for modern oversight and accountability.