Philippines gaming regulator PAGCOR has revealed that its Philippine Offshore Gaming Operations (POGO) scheme contributed revenue of Php7.365 billion (US$139.3 million) in 2018 – almost double the amount contributed in the previous year.
The figures were produced as part of a press statement issued over the weekend in which PAGCOR launched a passionate defense of its POGO regulatory procedures following criticism by Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III, who stated last week that the government was missing out on more than Php3 billion per month in tax revenue from foreign workers. It is estimated that there are around 100,000 foreign POGO workers in the country.
In a written response, PAGCOR said that POGO operations “have been contributing significantly to PAGCOR’s overall revenues which eventually go to the government’s coffers and various mandated beneficiaries.”
It added that POGO contributed Php657 million in 2016, improving to Php3.924 billion in 2017 and Php7.365 billion last year.
PAGCOR also emphasized that enforcement of POGO was the role of multiple government agencies, not just PAGCOR.
“While gaming operations fall within the ambit of the gaming industry thereby subjecting the same to pertinent regulatory bodies such as PAGCOR, other components of operations fall under the jurisdiction of [other] sectors making each component subjected to the regulation of each concerned government agencies,” it said.
In particular, PAGCOR stated that taxation of licensed operators is undertaken by the Bureau of Internal Revenue, while foreign workers are regulated by both the Department of Labor and Employment and the Bureau of Immigration.
“For our part, PAGCOR upholds lawful employment,” it said. “Employing undocumented foreign workers by licensed operations and their accredited service providers is a violation warranting imposition of demerits, fines and other administrative penalties, without prejudice to suspension of operations and/or cancellation of license or accreditation.
“PAGCOR expresses its commitment to uphold the integrity of gaming in the country. By partaking in inter-agency efforts in regulating offshore gaming operations, PAGCOR has always supported the government’s policy of equitable and progressive taxation, lawful employment, and promotion of public welfare.”