Acting presidential spokesperson and Communications Secretary Martin Andanar

MANILA – Malacañang on Wednesday expressed confidence that the Philippine Amusement Gaming Corporation (Pagcor) will be able to find new revenue sources after President Rodrigo Duterte ordered the immediate closure of e-sabong (online cockfighting).

“Tiwala po kami sa kakayahan ng Pagcor (We trust Pagcor’s ability) to generate new revenues,” acting presidential spokesperson and Communications Secretary Martin Andanar said in a virtual press conference.

Andanar issued the statement after the Pagcor projected a revenue loss of up to PHP5 billion from e-sabong activities for 2022.

As of March 2022, six companies have been allowed by Pagcor to operate e-sabong games.

In a prerecorded Talk to the People aired Tuesday morning, Duterte announced his decision to heed the recommendation of Local Government Secretary Eduardo Año to cease the e-sabong operations.

The decision was made after Año conducted a survey on the “social impact” of e-sabong on the Filipino people.

Malacañang’s Record Office, Andanar said, has yet to release an official document stopping the operations of e-sabong.

Año, in a report submitted to Duterte, recommended halting the operations of the betting game “until a better set of framework and regulations are formulated, in such a way that it will not significantly harm any of the stakeholders and lead to the moral decay of society.”

Following Duterte’s fresh directive, Año ordered the Philippine National Police and local government units to ensure the immediate halt in e-sabong activities nationwide.

Pagcor earns PHP650 million in revenue per month from e-sabong.

From April to December 2021, the government collected around PHP3.69 billion from the gaming operations of eight e-sabong licensees, according to the data released by Pagcor.

From January to March 15, 2022, there was a collection of around PHP1.37 billion from the operations of seven licensees. (PNA)