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PAGCOR: POGO revenues down as some players fled to neighboring countries

Revenues from Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators (POGOs) went down this year as a number of players have relocated to other countries in Southeast Asia, Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (PAGCOR) Chairperson Andrea Domingo said Friday.

Domingo told a briefing called by the House of Representatives appropriations committee on the proposed 2022 national budget that only around half of the POGO players are still in the country.

She did not give a figure, but there are 41 POGOs registered with PAGCOR as of August 6, 2021, based on the list posted on its website.

“More than half have already closed. They went to Cambodia, Vietnam, and Laos,” Domingo said after Deputy Speaker Bienvenido Abante Jr. inquired about the status of POGOs.

She said PAGCOR collected P1.6 billion from the POGO industry in the first half of 2021, making it impossible to hit the usual revenue of around P8 billion to P9 billion a year.

“They’ve always been paying taxes. However, I think there is a new regulation regarding how much they should pay,” Domingo said. “[It] has been clearly stated.”

Senators earlier passed a bill that would impose a 5% tax on gross gaming receipts for offshore gaming licensees and a 25% withholding tax on foreigners employed by offshore gambling licensees and service providers.

The House leadership has agreed to adopt the Senate version to skip the reconciliation process during the bicameral conference.

Once enacted into law, the government is expected to collect an estimated P28.7 billion in revenues this year from all POGOs. The bill was certified as urgent by President Rodrigo Duterte in May.

Domingo said they might be able to collect around P4 billion from POGOs this year. —NB, GMA News