The Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (Pagcor) on Tuesday said the protests filed by licensed POGO (Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators) are preventing the government from collecting the supposed P1.36 billion tax revenues from the sector.
In a statement, Pagcor said that their intensive fight against illegal online gambling and its overzealousness to maximize collections for government coffers allowed the Commission on Audit (CoA) to flag the alleged “uncollected accounts receivables” from POGO.
“At present, said amount and the discovered websites are still in the process of revalidation pursuant to existing procedures. While some have already been resolved, the others are still undergoing thorough validation,” the state-run gaming firm said.
It went on to say, “The COA audit observation on past due receivables persists and remains unresolved due to the unsettled protests filed by other POGO licensees.”
The firm cited CoA’s Annual Audit Report on PAGCOR for 2020, showing the most significant “uncollected accounts receivables” from POGOs at P1.36 billion, followed by a few other gaming operations under its jurisdiction.
Pagcor explained that the said past due receivables flagged by COA were products of its fight against illegal online gambling.
For 2018, 2019, and 2020, Pagcor said it intensified its regulatory efforts by conducting research and carrying out investigations on undeclared websites, games, and operations supposedly linked to the agency’s POGO Licensees.
In addition, it found several websites that appear to mirror the declared websites of its operators as they contain their games, with some even having their brands or logos.
“As an initial remedial measure, the agency imposed assumed or estimated billings for these websites based on the average income performance of the original declared websites of its licensees, subject to their availing of PAGCOR’s protest mechanism for questioned billings. These billings were protested by its licensees, on the basis that the websites are websites of illegal operators, stealing their live streams and making it appear as the legal websites of our operators,” Pagcor’s statement reads.