Being a seafarer or a seaman is one of the most difficult jobs in the world. Not only that you are confined in an all-steel building surrounded by water and pounded by waves while thousands of miles away from your family, but you also have all other challenges like food and the limited ways to kill time during your day off.
According to the Department of Labor and Employment of the Philippines, around 229,000 Filipino seamen were on board merchant shipping vessels around the world at any given time. The figure showed that Filipino seamen comprised more than 25 percent of 1.5 million mariners worldwide, the “single biggest nationality bloc” in the shipping industry.
Those 229 thousand mariners have individual needs when it comes to entertainment and enjoying themselves while on off duty. People resort to lots of different things like watching movies, playing all sorts of online games, chess, basketball on board, and all different sorts of traditional and modern sports just to fight boredom and kill time.
Not only Filipino seafarers are fighting the same life every day just to make money for their families. Everyone who works offshore, especially in offshore oil rigs experiences the same. The worst thing is, some of them lose lots of money in the casino, something that we will discuss in-depth in this article.
The legalization of “online sabong” or online cockfight in the Philippines
Online Sabong is becoming very popular online sports betting (or gambling per se) in the Philippines and is legal. Yes, it is legal and is regulated by the Philippine government starting early this 2021. Cockfighting is both legal and illegal in the Philippines and since actual cockfighting cannot be done inside the cockpit with hundreds to thousands of spectators due to the pandemic, the government answered by legalizing the sport of gambling via online streaming. The result is a massive success for both cockfighting enthusiasts and the government.
People from their homes can watch actual cockfights and can place a bet of at least ₱100 ($0.20) to as high as ₱10,000 ($200) per round. Agents are making money as well and providing extra income to many Filipinos.
How Online Sabong helps both Filipino and foreign seafarers
A Chief Engineer neighbor told me that ever since they discovered Online Sabong, watching online cockfights has become their main activity when off duty.
“We have this 65-inch smart TV in our dining area, a place where most of us stay when we are not at work. Since we started watching “Online Sabong”, the place has become extremely loud and active. Of course not all of us play but we enjoy watching. The excitement is hard to explain”, Bert Mauricio, a veteran chief engineer in a Singaporean-flagged LPG tanker.
Another Filipino seaman Jelo from Iloilo said even their foreigner superiors enjoy watching and even placing bets when the rooster fighting starts.
“Nakakatanggal talaga ng stress lalo pa pag nanalo ka”, (It can help release stress especially when you win”, Jelo said.
Online Sabong vs Casino: What’s the difference
Lots of critics say that cockfighting is gambling and yes, they are correct. But comparing it to casinos is not really a fair comparison and here’s why.
In cockfighting, 2 gamecocks are fighting until one is declared the winner. In short, when one side wins, the other side loses. There are only 2 sides fighting each other and both of them have 50/50 chances of winning and losing. Career cockers, especially game farm owners and handlers, analyze the data and statistics and when they place their bet, they always win because aside from the normal 50% chance, their knowledge and experience equate to an additional percentage.
On the other hand, when you lose in a casino game, who wins? You don’t even know who your opponent is. When you play poker, poker, or any card game with at least 3 opposing players, you have a 33.333% chance of winning. When you play a slot machine, no one can tell what your chances are, or maybe none at all. So there’s really a huge difference.
In a cockfight, especially in modern days where politicians, powerful, and influential people are involved, cheating is impossible. You can’t say the same thing if you are inside the casino.
Yes, both of them are addictive but again, every time you place a bet in online Sabong, you have a 50% chance to win. If you lose, then someone who places a bet in the opposing gamecock wins. If you lose while playing a casino game, no one wins but the casino.
Online Sabong is not just for Filipino seafarers. In fact, anyone outside the Philippines who are reading this article can watch and play Online Sabong. Interested? Click here to find out why!