Philippines to Crack Down on Tax-Dodging iGaming Providers

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The government of Philippines is reportedly planning to crack down on some remote online gambling providers that have failed to register and pay taxes despite being repeatedly asked to do the same by the country’s Department of Finance. This announcement comes just a short while after China called on the government of Philippines to ban online gambling online gaming operators that provide their services to customers that are not located in the Philippines under the country’s POGO (Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators) programs.

In response, Carlos G. Dominguez III, the Philippine Finance Secretary declared that any POGO license holders in the country with unregistered foreign employees would be shuttered by the Philippine Bureau of Internal Revenue and they will employ the assistance of other government agencies to achieve this. Some of the agencies that will participate in this clampdown include the Office of President Duterte, the Department of Justice, the Department of Labor and Employment, the Bureau of Immigration, as well as PAGCOR, the Philippine gambling regulator.

According to the minister, the clampdown is set to “close down organizations that don’t withhold and remit the proper amount of taxes from their employees” and will kick off as soon as possible. This is a pretty big deal for the country especially considering the fact that the Department of Finance has previously estimated that a whopping PHP24 billion in tax revenue is lost for every 100,000 foreign POGO workers that do not pay their taxes.

Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP) Suggest Solutions

PAGCOR, the country’s gambling operator, has recently stopped accepting POGO license applications due to concerns pertaining to the unregulated growth in the number of Chinese workers in the Philippines. While this decision has received some backing from China and other stakeholders in the industry, some organization believe that it is not necessarily the best option available.

That said, he Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP) is proposing that instead of a total ban, a coordinating body should be created in order to manage and control the growth of the offshore online gambling industry as a whole. This certainly seems like a more reasonable option considering how important the industry is to the economy and the people it employs.

TUCP president Raymond Mendoza has revealed that the organization is “assessing the POGO’s overall social implications and weighing the comprehensive benefits of this online gambling industry in our economy by putting on hold issuance of new operating licenses.” The proposed body will hopefully help in ensuring that all of the standards required of the gaming operators are met which will, in turn, bring back some order in the industry.

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