A casino entry fee is being considered in Philippines

The Philippine government wants to draw more revenue by creating new taxes.

Philippines.-  The National Tax Research Centre (NTRC), a Philippine government’s think tank, has come up with new ways of benefiting from the thriving gambling industry. One of the suggestions is to create a PHP3,500 (US$74) entry fee for Filipino residents who play in casinos.

NTRC stated that “Thus, the [new] bill aims to discourage Filipinos from playing in casinos, the proposal to charge an entrance fee in Philippine casinos amounting to PHP3,500 is supported since it would only be collected from those who have the financial capacity to splurge some money in the casinos.”

A number of lawmakers oppose the plan, though. Rep. Emil Ong, senior vice chairman of the House Committee on Appropriations, thinks this proposal is a contravention of the Constitution and told the Manila Bulletin that most lottery bettors are from the low income sector seeking to experience a little bit of “the comforts that the rich enjoy.”

Casino entry fees are not the only tax the think tank wants to impose, as it is targeting lotto and casino winnings because “there is unequal tax treatment of casinos lotteries and horseracing activities.”

“The proposed 20% final tax on lotto winnings is likewise supported for equity reasons considering that other forms of winnings are subject to the tax,” said the NTRC.

This measure also faced opposition: “Taxation must be uniform and must be reasonable. Question: Is it reasonable to tax lotto winnings whose purposes and proceeds are used for charitable projects?” Ong added.