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POGO exodus hurts PAGCOR

The gaming regulator, nonetheless, reported an 80 percent revenue decline during the pandemic as POGO operations were restricted.

Joshua Lao

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With still limited operating capacity allowed for Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators (POGO) and its service providers, the Philippine Gaming and Amusement Corp. (PAGCOR) reported a 50 percent drop on its online gaming revenues.

The gaming regulator, nonetheless, reported an 80 percent revenue decline during the pandemic as POGO operations were restricted.

“Our monthly regulatory fees of around P600 million pre-COVID-19 is now down by almost half. This should have been lower if not for the minimum guaranteed fees which allows PAGCOR to impose higher regulatory fees,” PAGCOR assistant vice president Jose Tria said.

According to him, the significantly lower collections were not surprising as only 32 out of 60 POGO were allowed to resume operations, but on a limited or 30 percent capacity.

50% cleared
The PAGCOR official said that only half or 111 of the 218 accredited POGO service providers were allowed to operate after getting clearances from the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR).

Moreover, an exodus of several POGO firms was brewing as industry sources cited the stricter quarantine and tax rules to ramp up the pressure on the sector.

Tria said five POGO had canceled their licenses while another five were suspended and 42 service providers have requested to cancel their accreditation.

Department of Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III earlier said the exit of POGO firms will definitely affect the government’s tax revenues including both corporate and value-added taxes (VAT) from the real estate sector and other POGO-dependent businesses.

Taxes will be settled
On a separate development, the DoF chief said while POGO outfits are leaving the country, their tax duties and obligations will still be recovered.

“Before a Philippine registered entity can close its business, it is required to get a clearance from the BIR. This triggers an audit where the BIR can determine if they have paid the correct taxes,” Dominguez explained.

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