Philippines: BIR announces 5% tax for e-sabong and casino operators

Royalties paid to PAGCOR do not include royalties paid to the government.
Royalties paid to PAGCOR do not include royalties paid to the government.

E-sabong and casino operators will have to pay a 5 per cent franchise tax to the BIR on their income.

The Philippines.- The Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) has announced that casino and e-sabong operators as well as other Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) licensees must pay a 5 five per cent franchise tax on income from their operations.

BIR commissioner Caesar R. Dulay said the royalties payable to PAGCOR did not include royalties paid to the government under Executive Order 1869. He urged PAGCOR licensees to remit their taxes directly to the regional financial office where they are registered.

Dulay said: “The regulatory fees paid by contractees to PAGCOR are different and distinct from the five per cent franchise tax payable to the BIR.”

PAGCOR itself pays a 5 per cent franchise tax on its business income to the BIR in place of other taxes. Income from other related services, such as the sale of goods, is also taxable.

Last year, PAGCOR reported that net income was down 86.9 per cent year-on-year to PHP203.6m (US$4.0m). Expenditures including donations to the national government reached PHP17.86bn, down 4.48 per cent from the previous year’s PHP18.7bn.

According to the regulator, the drop in revenue was mainly due to multiple countermeasures and lockdowns associated with the Covid-19 pandemic. PAGCOR Chairman and CEO Andrea Domingo told Business Mirror that the closure of some Philippine offshore gaming operators (POGOs) had also contributed to the drop.

Philippines president: e-sabong will continue

Despite calls urging PAGCOR to suspend online cockfighting, e-sabong operations will go on, the Philippines’ president has said. Some 23 senators signed Resolution No. 996 calling for a suspension after 31 people disappeared.

However, Duterte said: “I appeal to congressmen to stop meddling with it. It is generating revenue, no one is benefitting there except PAGCOR and the big players.”

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