The Philippine News Agency confirmed the news, saying that the country’s police authorities have conducted a massive operation in the period between July 1, 2022, through August 15, 2023, resulting in the arrest of more than a thousand individuals.
E-Sabong Continues to Thrive Despite Police Efforts
The operation is part of the Philippines’ efforts to shutter e-sabong, online cockfighting, which was briefly legalized by former President Rodrigo Duterte but was then outlawed again, as there were community reports about kidnappings directly tied to the activity. Some 34 people have been kidnapped, but this number is a very conservative estimate in the lack of hard numbers.
Although the activity had been outlawed under the previous president, interest in e-sabong did not subside. The arrested individuals have to do with both running and participating in illegal gambling businesses.
“The extensive crackdown on e-sabong illegal gambling underscores our unwavering commitment to the rule of law,” said a police official.
The recent arrests clearly demonstrated the police’s commitment to ensuring that it keeps the community free of illegal gambling and safe from its more pernicious consequences. The crackdown on such operations comes at an interesting time for the Philippines.
The Philippines’ Evolving Gambling Landscape
PAGCOR, the country’s regulator and operator of businesses, is on its way to launch an online casino brand, Casino Filipino, which it hopes will use to channel even more revenue into the state’s coffers. In the meantime, the regulator has also gone after illegal offshore operators that have been running their shops without the appropriate licenses and refused to pay their due fees.
The Philippines was also tied to a recent website hijacking of a domain name in the United States linked to the country’s history, with the domain name being bought out by a casino operating somewhere out of the Philippines.