Update: May 27, 2022:
The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) has ordered BSP-Supervised Financial Institutions (BSFIs) to remove all electronic sabong (e-Sabong) operators from the list of merchants in their respective online applications.
The BSP issued the order through Memorandum 2022-026 to all BSFIs following President Rodrigo Duterte’s directive to suspend all e-Sabong operations in the country effective 03 May 2022.
“The BSP reiterates that BSFIs should only deal with gambling and/or online gaming businesses that are allowed to operate by the appropriate government agency,” according to the memorandum signed by BSP Governor Benjamin E. Diokno.
The Philippine National Police (PNP) identified 12 “e-sabong” websites that are using cryptocurrencies as bets despite the ban on online cockfighting and betting operations issued by President Duterte earlier this month.
According to PNP Anti-Cybercrime Group (ACG) Head, Lieutenant Michelle Sabino, two of the 12 discovered websites are registered in the Philippines, while the rest are registered offshore.
She added that there are Facebook pages that promote these websites.
“Ito ‘yung parang recruitment ng bettors nila, ng mananaya. Once itong mga bettors na ‘to, they would communicate with the administrator of the Facebook page, and then the administrator will give a link to them to download,” Sabino stressed.
[“This is their recruitment avenue to attract bettors. Once these bettors will communicate with the administrators of the Facebook page, then the admins will give a link to them to download.”]
The PNP-ACG Head explained that the application that the bettors will download offers numerous online games, including e-sabong, with a ₱100.00 registration deposit fee.
Then after downloading the app, bettors can start playing gambling games using cryptocurrency.
“Wala talagang specific registration na nangyari, just like Bitcoin, ‘di ba’t numbers ‘yan. And once na ayaw na nila, they can always cash out anytime through exchanges, gumagamit (sila) ng third party exchanges,” Sabino added.
[“There is no specific registration happening, just like Bitcoin, those are operated by numbers. And once a bettor decides to stop gambling, they can cash out anytime through exchanges – they are using third party exchanges.”]
In addition, she highlighted that crypto is used in betting to these online games to be “dissimulated and untraceable” by the authorities.
Earlier this month, after the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) declared “e-sabong” as illegal, GCash and Maya said that they are not impacted by it, even though some bettors use these mobile wallets to withdraw and deposit e-sabong bets.
“E-sabong, as we’ve said before, doesn’t have a significant contribution in our transaction value. Our revenue and profit trajectory is really doing well, very positive, and we expect to end the year at even better levels than last year,” GCash president and CEO Martha Sazon said.
Meanwhile, the PNP-ACG already reported these websites and Facebook pages to the InterAgency Task Force and other concerned agencies, including the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) and the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT).
Bettors are warned that they are also liable and can be charged with violation of Anti-Illegal Gambling Law. (PD 449).
“Doon sa mga mahuhuli na nag-o-online sabong, ito ang isa sa mga kasong kakaharapin niyo: ayan na’ yung PD 449. And once get caught, sinisigurado ko sa inyo, we’ll be able to trace you,” the PNP-ACG Head exclaimed.
[“To those who will get caught betting in online sabong, one of the cases that you will face is PD 449. And once get caught, I guarantee, that we will be able to trace you.”]
Sabino emphasized that the PNP-ACG will monitor the movement of crypto, since crypto has been used in several illegal and criminal activities in the past years.
This article is published on BitPinas: E-Sabong Crypto? 12 ‘E-Sabong’ Sites Using Crypto as Bets, PNP Discovers
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