The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas has ordered its supervised financial institutions (BSFIs) to remove all electronic sabong or e-sabong operators from the list of merchants in their respective online applications.
The BSP issued Memorandum 2022-026 following President Rodrigo Duterte’s directive to suspend all e-sabong operations in the country effective May 3, 2022.
“The BSP reiterates that BSFIs should only deal with gambling and/or online gaming businesses that are allowed to operate by the appropriate government agency,” BSP Governor Benjamin Diokno said in the memo.
The BSP also directed financial institutions to inform their clients who still have remaining funds in their e-sabong accounts to transfer the funds back to their e-wallets within 30 days from the issuance of the memorandum.
After the 30-day period, financial institutions are directed to disable the link between e-sabong accounts and e-money wallets, including e-sabong merchant operator accounts.
The memorandum also emphasized that BSP-supervised financial institutions shall strictly observe customer due diligence, continuously monitor accounts and transactions, report suspicious transactions, and ensure that appropriate control measures are in place to restrict access of minors, government employees, and other prohibited players to online gambling facilities.
Earlier, the government took down seven illegal e-sabong websites.
“These criminals thrive on the anonymity of the internet and they are taking advantage of this, but the PNP together with our colleagues from the National Bureau of Investigation will not rest until they have been unmasked,” Interior Undersecretary Jonathan Malaya said.
The official said authorities monitored 12 websites and eight social media platforms that are still operating e-sabong.
The Interior department is coordinating with the Department of Information and Communication Technology (DICT) to shut down these illegal websites, Malaya said.
The official added the DILG has requested Meta, the parent company of Facebook, to immediately delete or suspend the pages conducting e-sabong activities.
The DILG is also set to coordinate with telecom firm Globe regarding GCash, the electronic wallet service that bettors and operators use.
Duterte earlier ordered to stop e-sabong, following reports of more than 30 sabungeros who had gone missing.