POGO Tax Could Go Up 5%

A lawmaker in the Philippines recently proposing a new 5% tax increase for Philippine Offshore Gaming Operator (POGO) license holders. The proposed tax increase would add a 5% tax on revenue generated from offshore gaming. 

Representative Joey Salceda filled the bill in the PH House of Representatives on Wednesday, October 23rd, 2019. The bill seeks to have POGO operators and their service providers register as resident corporations. If successful, the resident corporations will have to pay an additional 5% tax on revenue earned.

The bill is also seeking a $10,000 monthly tax on table games and $5,000 (monthly) on random number generated (RNG) games. RNG’s are used in almost every online wagering game from baccarat to slots. RNG’s are commonly tested by gaming operators to assure fairness before a license is awarded. 

Currently, POGO license holders are paying $100 a month on RNG’s and $40,000 a month to offer sports betting. The Philippine Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III said that he was in favor of the proposed bill but has yet to read the bill in full. He also added that POGO operators are already paying a 5% franchise tax on revenue. 

The Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) has reported that there are 218 registered POGO’s. The offshore operators currently employ about 108k foreign workers. Since the Presidents meeting with Xi Jinping, where he urged the Philippines to stop offering offshore licenses to gambling operators, the Philippines have made it clear that POGO operators need to pay their taxes or face repercussions.  

The Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) started issuing POGO licenses in 2016 to increase taxable revenue. This new bill would further support those actions, but some are concerned that more tax would scare potential operators away. During his meeting with Xi Jinping, President Duterte told the Chinese President that he would not allow online gaming licenses in his country if there were more jobs. Duterte has announced his dislike for the gambling industry on multiple occasions.