POGO tax payments total US$75m for first eight months of the year

Authorities in the Philippines are debating whether to ban POGOs.
Authorities in the Philippines are debating whether to ban POGOs.

The Philippines’ tax collections from POGOs have already exceeded 2021 revenues.

The Philippines.- The Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) has reported POGOs generated PHP4.438bn (US$75m) in tax revenues from January to August. Director Sixto Dy Jr noted that collections for the first eight months have already surpassed revenue for the whole year of 2021 (PHP3.91bn).

The BIR reported that there were 163 POGOs in the country as of June 2022, comprising 35 licensees and 130 service providers. However, only 26 of the licensees and 127 service providers were operational. As of June 15, 2022, the total number of employees in the POGO industry was 34,245, with 17,509 foreigners and 16,736 Filipinos.

The BIR said that POGOs had failed to reach pre-pandemic levels because several operators transferred their operations to other countries. It said the sector had also shrunk due to the 5 per cent franchise tax on turnover and the Chinese government’s ongoing crackdown on online gambling.

The Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) reported revenue of PHP1.912bn from January to August, including PHP1.333bn from offshore gaming.

A Philippine Senate Committee is debating the possibility of banning POGOs. However, Leechiu Property Consultants CEO David Leechiu warned that the proposal could seriously hurt the economy. He told The Inquirer a ban could cost the Philippines PHP200bn (US$3.39m) a year in office and residential rentals, income tax, electricity bills, wages and regulatory revenues.

Leechiu says the government would also lose an estimated PHP5.8bn in government taxes, while PAGCOR would lose PHP5.25bn in revenue. In addition, 347,000 workers could lose their jobs if the remaining POGOs close.

PAGCOR clarifies that illegal online gambling operators are not POGOs

A linguistic battle has broken out in the Philippines after the arrests of Chinese citizens allegedly involved in illegal online gaming. The regulator has clarified that POGOs are licensed operators and so the term should not be used to refer to illegal operations.

PAGCOR chairman and chief executive officer Alejandro Tengco said: “The agency emphasizes that any person, group or entity that operates online gambling without approval from PAGCOR should not be categorized as POGO.

“Any gaming entity that fails to pass the application process for an offshore gaming license cannot be labelled as POGO.”

In this article: