A Brief History of Gambling and Cockfighting in the Philippines

by Reign Alessandro

For centuries, gambling and cockfighting sw418 have been popular pastimes in the Philippines. But who introduced these games to the country? Let’s take a look at the history of gambling and cockfighting in the Philippines.

The Origins of Gambling in the Philippines

Gambling is thought to have first been introduced to the Philippines by the Chinese, who began settling in the country as early as the 9th century AD. The most popular game amongst these early settlers was a game of chance called “puk-a-puk,” which quickly became a fan favorite amongst Filipinos.

The Spaniards Arrived and Brought Gambling with Them

The Spanish colonized the Philippines in the 16th century, and they too brought gambling to the country. The most popular game amongst Spanish colonists was a game of cards called “biriba.” Biriba was played with a deck of 40 cards, and it quickly became one of the most popular games in the Philippines.

Cockfighting Was Introduced in the 1700s

Cockfighting is thought to have been introduced to the Philippines in 1750 by Captain Pedro Torres Lanaja, who is said to have brought 24 gamecocks from Mexico. The sport quickly caught on, and today cockfighting remains a popular pastime amongst Filipinos.

Gambling Was Banned by American Colonizers But Not for Long

When America colonized the Philippines in 1898, they immediately banned all forms of gambling. However, this ban didn’t last long; just two years later, gambling was once again made legal in an effort to raise revenue for the newly-established Philippine government.

Gambling Is Now Big Business in the Philippines

Today, gambling is big business in the Philippines. The Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) is responsible for regulating all forms of gaming in the country, and it generated over PHP40 billion (US$800 million) in revenue in 2017 alone.


Gambling and cockfighting have been popular pastimes in ths Philipines for centuries. These games were first introduced to the country by the Chinese and Spanish settlers who arrived centuries ago, and they remain popular today despite being banned by American colonizers at one point in history.

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