Pagcor to maximize revenues from POGOs

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    The government is studying ways on how it can maximize revenues it can gain from the operations of Philippine offshore gaming operators (POGOs), without “killing” the industry, the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (Pagcor) said.

    Andrea Domingo, Pagcor chairperson, told reporters on the sidelines of the Global Gaming Expo Asia @ the Philippines 2019 press conference held in Pasay City last Tuesday they are looking into what would be “fair” for both the government and the POGOs.

    Domingo said the government is conducting its review on the POGO industry to address issues that were raised and has stopped accepting applications for the licensing of POGOs until all of these are addressed.

    “We think that maybe we could just first address the problems we are having now, and then see how we can maximize revenues without killing them. Because like one said, you cannot offer so much disincentives, (otherwise) they wouldn’t want to stay here anymore because there are so many other countries that are hosting POGOs and they actually collect no tax from them,” she said.

    “There are about seven or eight countries, like Netherlands, they don’t collect any taxes, or a lot of them, some are collecting less, some are collecting more, but that is because they have a different kind of taxation system,” Domingo added.

    “So we’re looking into all of these, and by the end of the year we should be able to come up with a fair (and) just way of exacting revenues, and regulating, fair to them, because they would still need to be profitable, (and also) fair for the country because we would be getting the maximum revenues,” she also said.

    Domingo was also asked about the proposed taxes in the Lower House on POGOs, to which she said whatever will be implemented into law, the agency will follow.

    “If there are new taxes that they would like to get into and if we’re asked, then we will study and make our position,” she said.

    Meanwhile, Pagcor is on track to collecting its P8 billion target revenues from POGOs for this year, according to Domingo.

    “We will be able to reach more than P8 billion this year. The target is P8 billion. Next year we want to double that,” she said.

    Domingo reiterated that it is not only Pagcor that is benefiting from POGOs.

    “As I’ve discussed, it’s not only Pagcor who is benefiting from it. You know how much vacancy it would create in NCR (National Capital Region) if they all leave? 15 percent of all developed real estate property, that’s a lot. That’s P20 billion a year. In fact, POGO is the one that saved the real estate industry when all of the call centers pulled out,” she said.

    Asked about reports of increasing rental fees, Domingo said Pagcor will meet with real estate associations to discuss the matter.

    “We’re also looking into that. It’s a business, free enterprise… but they should be able to control themselves. We will be talking to the associations of real estate,” she said.