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Lacson: E-sabong shouldn't operate 24 hours, strictly regulated by PAGCOR

MADDELA, Quirino—After President Rodrigo Duterte bucked Senate’s call to suspend the licenses of e-sabong operators linked to the disappearance of at least 34 cockfighting aficionados, presidential candidate and Senator Panfilo Lacson said there should be “at least strict regulation” from the Philippine Amusement Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR).

“Kung ayaw isuspend, anyway executive decision ‘yan ‘di ba, kung isuspend o hindi, kung may desisyon na as a matter of policy na ‘wag isuspend, at least man  lang 'yung strict regulation kasi hindi nare-regulate e,” Lacson said in a press conference here.

(If they don’t want to suspend it, anyway it is an executive decision, if they have already decided and their policy is not to suspend the operations, then at least they should impose strict regulation because it lacks proper regulation.)

The lawmaker also agreed with Duterte’s position that online sabong should not operate 24 hours, suggesting a “man-to-man” betting procedure so the government could regulate the gambling activity properly.

“Tama ‘yon, ‘wag 24 hours kasi imagine ‘di ba, ‘yung testimony noon between P1 billion to P2 billion a day, nasa mga 1.6 billion daily. Saan manggagaling ‘yon e di sa mga pangkaraniwang mga kababayan natin na nalululong sa e-sabong,” Lacson pointed out.

(That’s right. The operations should not be 24 hours because if you can recall, the testimony was they collect around d P1 to P2 billion a day or around P1.6 billion daily. Where will that come from? From our countrymen who are addicted to e-sabong.)

At a Senate hearing last March 4, gaming Atong Ang disclosed that his e-sabong firm alone is earning a gross monthly income of P3 billion.

Ang said his firm, Lucky 8 Star Quest Inc., is receiving around P1 to P2 billion worth of bets per day or around P60 billion per month.

“So dapat talaga mahigpit 'yung regulatory authority na ie-exercise ng PAGCOR sa e-sabong. Kung pwede i-man to man tsaka kung pwedeng i-offsite na lang. Ang masama kasi pag online, pag online sabong, ‘yan…kasi walang control e. Nobody can monitor anymore…Direct bet so papaano mo mamo-monitor?” he asked.

(The regulatory authority that PAGCOR exercises on e-sabong should be stricter. They should check if they could do a man-to-man or offsite collection because if they could bet online, there will be no control. Nobody can monitor anymore. It is a direct bet so how can you monitor that?)

Lacson said even the proceeds of the revenues should be monitored closely by PAGCOR.

“Baka hindi pa sapat ‘yung nakukuha sa kinikita ng e-sabong or online sabong (We should check if the government is getting the revenues it should collect from e-sabong),” he said.

During his Talk to the People aired on Wednesday, Duterte said he is not keen on suspending the operation of e-sabong, citing billions of income that the government collects from it.

PAGCOR chairperson Andrea Domingo said it is projected that they can collect up to P8 billion from e-sabong operations this year.

For Duterte, even if he ordered the closure of e-sabong, it would still continue through illegal operations.

Lacson and Senate President Vicente Sotto III were the ones who originally proposed a Senate resolution calling the PAGCOR to suspend the e-sabong licenses pending the resolution of the case of 34 missing “sabungeros.”

PAGCOR, however, expressed reservations to the Senate resolution, citing billions of pesos in lost revenues and possible legal charges from stakeholders.—AOL, GMA News