P8-B rev­enues from POGO eyed in 2019

Mindanao Times - - BUSINESS -

MANILA — The boom­ing off­shore gam­ing in­dus­try in the Philip­pines is seen to bring in ad­di­tional PHP8 bil­lion in rev­enues in 2019 as the Philip­pine Amuse­ment and Gam­ing Cor­po­ra­tion (Pag­cor) gets more fa­mil­iar with the in­dus­try.

In her speech dur­ing the open­ing cer­e­mony of the first-ever Philip­pine Asian Gam­ing Expo (PAGE) at the SMX in Pasay City, which will be held un­til July 14, 2019, Pag­cor Chair­man Andrea Domingo said the ex­pected col­lec­tion from Philip­pine off­shore gam­ing oper­a­tors (POGO) this year will be on top of the PHP12 bil­lion col­lected from 2016 to 2018.

She ex­plained that in the pre­vi­ous years, the gov­ern­ment was only able to col­lect about PHP56 mil­lion an­nu­ally from the sec­tor be­cause the reg­u­la­tor “had a hard time to fully un­der­stand what the op­er­a­tor is, and what the ser­vice providers are, and how we can have an au­dit plat­form that will be in­de­pen­dent and will as­sure us that the gov­ern­ment is col­lect­ing the proper rev­enues.”

“In the last two years, we have con­cen­trated on mak­ing enough rules and reg­u­la­tions to at­tract those who will oth­er­wise be de­clared as il­le­gally op­er­at­ing to go into the fold of the law and op­er­ate legally,” he said.

On Wed­nes­day, of­fi­cials from var­i­ous gov­ern­ment agen­cies like Pag­cor, the De­part­ment of Fi­nance (DOF), De­part­ment of La­bor and Em­ploy­ment (DOLE), Bureau of In­ter­nal Rev­enue (BIR) and the De­part­ment of Foreign Af­fairs (DFA) signed a joint mem­o­ran­dum cir­cu­lar aimed at lev­el­ing the play­ing field through the more strin­gent im­ple­men­ta­tion of la­bor reg­u­la­tions on for­eign­ers work­ing in the Philip­pines.

This is in line with the gov­ern­ment’s en­hanced ef­forts to col­lect cor­rect in­come taxes and regis­ter all

foreign work­ers in the coun­try. Domingo ex­plained that as the reg­u­la­tor of the do­mes­tic gam­ing in­dus­try, Pag­cor does not only make sure that all stake­hold­ers are legally op­er­at­ing in the coun­try but also to help them in their op­er­a­tions. She said Pag­cor of­fi­cials con­tinue to look for ways on how to aid POGO to “set up busi­ness here so that they are able to find out that it is more con­ve­nient, more busi­ness wise, more suitable and de­sir­able for them to be le­gal­ized rather than to go and re­main il­le­gal.” “I think in this por­tion of the world, we were able to suc­cess­fully con­vince about 59 oper­a­tors to get into the Philip­pines. We have a very good model now. We do not seg­re­gate the oper­a­tors from the ser­vice providers to cir­cum­vent rev­enue col­lec­tion,” she said. The Pag­cor chief said the sit­u­a­tion has changed be­cause the Philip­pines is not con­sid­ered as the il­le­gal gambling cap­i­tal of the world any­more. “Now every­body is look­ing at the Philip­pines as some­body who has ac­tu­ally done a very good in­ter­ven­tion in the off­shore gam­ing sec­tor of our in­dus­try and are now look­ing into our mod­els,” she said. In an in­ter­view by jour­nal­ists, Domingo as­sured the POGO that the gov­ern­ment will not col­lect taxes more than what is nec­es­sary. She said the rise of the POGO in­dus­try has ben­e­fited the real es­tate and the ser­vices sec­tor and the gov­ern­ment will not do any­thing ex­ces­sive to dam­age these gains. “I’m sure that they are all very in­tel­li­gent, ma­ture peo­ple. That they will not over­tax so that we lose what­ever good there is,” she said. “If you kill it over un­rea­son­able steps, then you lose ev­ery­thing. So we have to main­tain it while ob­serv­ing ev­ery­thing that is le­gal. We also make it a good place to in­vest in,” she added.

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