Philippine POGO Licenses Are Getting Harder To Acquire

The Philippine Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) has requested the gaming regulator PAGCOR to require in-person registration before issuing a Phillippine Offshore Gaming Operator (POGO) license.

The Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation has been regulating the gaming industry in the Philippines since 1976 when they were first commissioned by a Presidential Decree 1067-a to regulate a floating casino in Manila Bay. Since then PAGCOR has become the largest revenue contributor second to only the BIR.

This new suggested in-person registration comes at a time when the casino industry is booming in the Philippines. In 2018 the Philippines exceeded $3 billion in gross gaming revenue with a good portion of that figure coming from offshore online gaming.

Contributing to the gambling boom are Chinese gaming operators working in the Philippines. Since gambling in China is illegal except for in Macau and Hong Kong, many gamblers look for online sites that can offer online casino gambling from the convenience of their cellphone or desktop computer.

Chinese interest in online gambling has sparked a trend with POGO licensing in the Philippines. The added interest has propelled the BIR to request in-person registration for offshore licenses.

The in person-registration will also extend to Philippine-based operators and all applicants must register under the Revenue Memorandum Circular 78-2018.

Arnel Guballa is the Revenue Deputy Commissioner for Operations at the BIR. Guballa recently told media outlets that the in-person registration will soon become a prerequisite for PAGCOR licenses. Registration for offshore operators will be in the revenue jurisdiction of which the home office of the business is located.