The Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) said the unchecked online sabong or cockfighting in the country lowered lotto sales.According to PCSO general manager Royina Garma, the online sabong becomes rampant due to the quarantine restrictions.Cockpit arenas were still not allowed to open as social distancing is enforced to prevent COVID-19 transmissions.“Definitely, lottery sales are affected by online sabong,” Garma said.She added that local government units, the Philippine National Police, and the National Bureau of Investigation issue permits to cockpits. Garma said it is up to these agencies if they wanted to go after those who are operating illegal online sabong.“As far as I know, legal ‘yung sabungan because they have permits from local governments. But online cockfights are illegal,” Garma said.According to reports, cock derbies are being operated on private farms and uploaded on the internet for online betting.The PCSO manager said they are yet to recover from what they lost during the five-month suspension of lottery games in 2020.Garma said the PCSO’s revenue collection decreased by 57.68 percent, from P44.02 billion in 2019 to only P18.63 billion last year.In November 2020, the House Committee on Ways and Means approved a bill aiming to impose new taxes on legal online sabong (cockfight) and other legally-operated electronic betting activities.Joey Salceda, who also chairs the panel, authored House Bill 7919, which aims to make the industry of online sabong and other related games more transparent and accountable.“The operations of online betting on online 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,” Salceda said.Under Salceda’s measure, a tax regime will be imposed on “Offsite Betting Activities on Locally Licensed Games,” which exclude “games and activities specifically authorized by law to be performed by the government gaming authorities, such as the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) and the Philippine Charity and Sweepstakes Office (PCSO).”The bill said that the tax imposed is equivalent to 5% of the gross revenue derived from Offsite Betting Activities on Locally Licensed Games. It should not be in place of taxes required by local government units and regulatory fees imposed by government agencies.