Following an exodus due to the Covid-19 pandemic, it seems POGOs are returning to the Philippines and are in need of space.
The Philippines.- Leechiu Property Consultants has reported that Philippine offshore gaming operators (POGOs) now need 17,000 square meters of office space.
After having practically zero demand for office space during the Covid-19 pandemic, which saw an estimated 30 per cent of POGOs leave the Philippines, the consultant now expects more leasing as borders reopen.
It told the Rappler newspaper that contractions are at their lowest since the second quarter of 2020, at 135,000 square meters.
According to the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), less than a hundred POGOs remained active in the country during the Covid-19 lockdown in 2020.
President Rodrigo Duterte is pushing for approval of Senate Bill 2232 under which POGOs must pay 5 per cent tax on their gross gaming revenue.
The bill would also charge foreigners employed by online casinos and their service providers 25 per cent income tax.
According to Bloomberg, presidential spokesman Harry Roque stated: “We hope that this measure would not only generate the much-needed revenues in the country but also place the industry under stricter government oversight.”
Senator Pia Cayetano said POGOs has grown rapidly in the Philippines, generating additional revenues for the government in the past year.
POGOs brought in US$149.4m in tax payments last year despite the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and the resulting departure of many firms.
However, considering the proliferation of POGOs in the country, Cayetano said their potential as a source of revenue was much bigger and that the government could have collected more than Php6.43bn (US$133.8m) in 2019 alone.