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Philippines online gambling update: House approves online cockfighting

Are players in the Philippines ready for the day when online gambling includes regulated cockfighting? The world is one step closer to answering that question after the country’s House of Representatives completed a crucial vote that outlines a taxation scheme for just such a plan.

Late Wednesday, the country’s House of Representatives approved, by a vote of 215-1, House Bill No. 8065, which amends section 125 of the National Internal Revenue Code of 1997. In layman’s terms, that means that the country’s gambling rules now include a plan for regulated cockfighting. More importantly, HB 8065 imposes a five percent tax on the gross revenue from regulated cockfighting. Though the bill was approved nationally, the taxes will be collected locally.

In a statement on the bill reported on by, House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Joey Salceda described the proposed taxation scheme saying, “Wagering is a demand inelastic non-essential…The operations of online betting on sabong are authorized by local ordinances. Because of the digital shift, there are now electronic betting operations on such games. But the electronic aspect of it is a gray area, even though the airwaves is national property.”

Cockfighting, though considered cruelty to animals in most western countries, is a popular legal activity in the Philippines. As such, it’s also a crucial source of revenue for governments at all levels. Adding a regulated online component to the activity is designed to goose revenue at a time when land-based casinos worldwide are struggling while their online counterparts seem to be thriving.

The Philippines Senate will vote to approve HB 8065 on Friday.