Ban eSabong in the Philippines
Ban eSabong in the Philippines
Why this petition matters
Millions of people around the world have been imprisoned by the shackles of gambling addiction. This affects the well-being of many, including families, friends, and the addicts themselves. As a project to advocate for change, I have chosen the “SDG #3 - Good Health and Wellbeing” for this purpose.
Globally, the market size of the online gambling industry has grown greatly in the years 2019-2023, from approximately 59 billion USD to 93 billion (Statista). In the Philippines, the increased usage and dependence of addicts on the Philippine E-Gambling Industry is increasingly evident. Atong Ang, the highest leading eSabong operator in the Philippines, says that there were already 5 million players in the game (Gonzales). Currently, eSabong is said to earn P3 billion gross income per month, after it was investigated by the Senate of the Philippines (Ramos).
However, it has come to light that the majority of eSabong players were within the middle to mostly low-income class. Despite this, the bloodsport makes more than 700 billion pesos (approximately $13.4 billion) in bets and wagers yearly (Yap & Batino). “eSabong” or “Online Cockfighting” is an online wagering or betting game where players are able to bet on live cockfighting matches or events (Pulta). With the COVID-19 Pandemic, online gambling has been put under a much brighter spotlight, and now addicts stuck at home will be able to access it in a more easy and efficient way. The continuous and unlimited access to gambling platforms decreases their chances of seeking help through rehabilitation or therapy, further impacting their lives and the people around them.
But through this, many people in poverty have lost money they didn’t have in the first place, leading them to struggle to source it out before it would be too late. One horrifying example of this can be found in early 2022 when a mother sold her 8-month-old baby to settle her debt from eSabong matches. Fortunately, the baby was rescued and was placed in the custody of the DSWD (Gonzales). However, one cannot help but wonder about the other extents people have gone through because of the wreckage of debt related to online gambling. To source money and pay off debts, many have to sacrifice their houses, belongings, and in this case, their own child. From this, we can see how the people in the Philippines, especially the poor, have been blinded and robbed of their judgment because of this phenomenon. Many due to addiction, and others the desire to earn more money, a hopeful dream to get out of their current situation. A lifestyle where one must struggle to feed themselves and their families.
I want the government to ban eSabong completely, and stop its consistent ability to rob struggling addicts in the Philippines. Though I am only an Eighth Grader, I want to spread awareness about the struggles addicts are going through and I call on the Philippine government to ban Online Gambling casinos, starting with eSabong. Because though online gambling contributes positively to the economy, is it counted as fair-earned or morally justifiable if it comes majorly from the poor or unemployed?
Recently, President Rodrigo Duterte has fortunately banned eSabong. However, even if this has stopped, it isn’t always guaranteed that it will be permanent due to the fact that there will be a new administration, headed by the future president of the Philippines Bong Bong Marcos. Will you help me ban this once and for all by sharing?