A Senate Minority Leader is urging the Department of Finance to privatise PAGCOR’s gaming operations.
Philippines.- The Department of Finance should privatise the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) gaming operations. Or at least that’s what Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon believes it should do instead of imposing more taxes.
On Wednesday, Senate Minority Leader Drilon said that PAGCOR should focus on its regulatory obligations to create a more efficient framework. The Senator believes that PAGCOR being in charge of gaming operations derails its regulatory work, GMA News reported.
During a Senate Committee on Finance budget hearing, Drilon explained that privatising the gaming industry will give the Philippine 10 times more than what it can get “from the sin taxes on alcohol and e-cigarettes.”
“It is a rich source of revenue which I strongly feel is not being tapped properly. Do not let go of the low-hanging fruit that can generate huge revenues,” Drilon said.
Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez said that three years ago the Finance department estimated that the Philippines could earn €3.8 billion a year if the industry goes private. “The figure was €3.8 billion three years ago. That is our estimate if we privatise, meaning separate the regulatory and operating functions of the gaming industry. As soon as I joined (the Duterte administration), that was the area that we looked at immediately as a source of fund and as a way of correcting a situation that we call anomalous, where you are regulating yourself,” said Dominguez.
He added that PAGCOR would not lose money: “They will just be a regulating and a collecting agency.”
A government Rep. says the country should be ready for POGOs to leave
According to Representative Joey Salceda, the country should be ready if Philippine Offshore Gaming Operations (POGO) decide to leave. Salceda explained POGOs may leave the Philippines because of China’s policy against online gambling.
“Enjoy while it lasts and prepare when they go,” Salceda said in an economic briefing in Malacañang. He noted that POGOs are legal in the country and urged to thoroughly study them before acting in consequence.
“Remember, this is legal in the Philippines but considered illegal in China. So we need to see whether we need to… what is the correct strategy with dealing with them rather outside of taxing them properly? Because this will definitely pose systemic risk,” Salceda said. “In terms of returns, my goodness! It’s now breaching 1% of GDP. So, it’s paying more wages than BPOs,” he added.