GCash, the payments app of Globe Telecom and Alibaba of billionaire Jack Ma, is funneling at least P3 billion a month in onlne cockfigting bets to Pitmasters Live of e-Sabong kingpin Atong Ang.
In a letter to the Senate obtained by Bilyonaryo.com, G-Xchange assistant vice president for legal Gilbert Escoto said GCash users made P102 million in average daily net top-up (or replenishment of accounts) in 2021.
Escoto claimed GCash only earned P600,000 in average net revenues from Pitmasters in 2021.
Despite channeling billions of bets to Pitmasters, Escoto clarified that GCash does not “does not earn revenue per se from ‘e-sabong’ nor from the bets in ‘e-sabong’ which are conducted outside our platform.”
“Our income is derived solely from the top-up of funds from GCash to Pitmasters wallet. Similar to the top-up to other merchant’s e-wallet which the customer does to pay for goods and services,” said Escoto.
The Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (Pagcor) granted the first e-sabong license to Ang in April 2021 and GCash made Pitmasters a GLife partner on its app.
Pitmasters popularity has exploded in recent months thanks to convenient betting through GCash and Paymaya of PLDT (which added Pitmasters to its app in February 2022).
Ang claimed in a Senate hearing a few weeks ago that his Pitmasters is generating P2 billion in daily bets of which it makes P100 million in profits a day. Ang claimed Pitmasters accounted for 95 percent of all e-Sabong bets but he did not say how much goes through GCash.
Senator Bato dela Rosa claimed that e-sabong accounted for three-fourths of GCash transactions. GCash called this “outright inaccurate and totally baseless” noting that bets in Pitmasters accounted for just a “small” portion of the P3.8 trillion transactions that went through its e-wallet in 2021. GCash said 2021 was landmark year with total volume ballooning more than three times from the P1.2 billion deals made in 2020.
Escoto also addressed concerns raised by Senator Francis Tolentino that minors were betting on e-sabong on their mobile phones through GCash.
“As a non-bank financial institution regulated by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, we are compliant with all Know Your Customer (KYC) due diligence, and anti-money laundering standards, initiatives and procedures,” said Escoto.
“Our adherence to e-KY standards allows us to identify and filter transactions of minors on the platform. Our due diligence process happens at the point of opening an e-wallet, along with additional safeguards and controls monitoring and daily reconciliation of transactions,” he added.