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Philippines could get US$26m from e-sabong tax

The bill to tax online sabong was passed with 215 votes to 1.
The bill to tax online sabong was passed with 215 votes to 1.

The bill to tax 5 per cent of revenues on e-sabong transmissions from legal cockpits has been passed to the Philippines Senate.

The Philippines.- The House of Representatives in the Philippines has approved a bill that proposes to tax online betting on sabong events held in legal cockpits and transmitted through streaming systems.

House Bill 8065, which was introduced by Joey Sarte Salceda, places a 5 per cent tax on revenues from an ongoing legal activity that had not yet been taxed in the Philippines.

It comes at a time when the government is seeking to boost gaming tax collection, which has plunged due to Covid-19 restrictions.

The bill passed its third reading at the House of Representatives on Tuesday with 215 votes in favour and one against and was sent to the Senate for deliberation.

At the hearing, Sarte Salceda said the tax could raise at least Php1.25bn (almost US$26m) in its first full year.

He believes the bill, which would amend the National Internal Revenue Code of 1997, could help clarify some of the grey areas regarding taxes on online activities and help raise gaming tax income, which stood at Php13.7bn in 2019, according to the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR)

If approved, the measure would exclude PAGCOR activities as well as those run by the Philippine Charity and Sweepstakes Office (PCSO). It would also allow the BIR to inspect and accredit the devices used to record wagers.

The proposal would also empower the Games and Amusements Board (GAB) to regulate the fair conduct of offsite betting on locally licensed cockfights and derbies, including the devices used by gaming operators.

Gaming operators will have to disclose offsite betting activities on licenced games to the BIR and other regulatory agencies.

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philippines sabong taxes