The chair of Philippines gaming regulator PAGCOR says the government is on track to triple the amount of income earned from Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators (POGO) in 2020 after a strong start to the year in January.
Speaking at the ICE VOX conference at global gaming trade show ICE London on Tuesday, Andrea Domingo revealed that PAGCOR is eyeing income from POGOs in the vicinity of Php16 billion to Php18 billion (US$314 million to US$354 million) this year – up from Php5.74 billion (US$113 million) in 2019.
“And so far in the first month of the year and the first week of February we are on target,” Domingo said.
Such income from POGOs would represent a three-fold jump in the space of just 12 months, the result of a multi-department crackdown from 2019 on online operators found to be withholding taxes.
The regulator recently reported income from POGOs in 2019 of Php5.74 billion and tax revenue collection of Php6.42 billion, which included Php5.14 billion (US$101 million) from withholding taxes, Php644.1 million from income taxes, Php91.1 million from value added tax and percentage tax collections, Php81.1 million from documentary stamp taxes and PHP469.13 million from other taxes.
Tax revenue in 2018 had generated just Php2.38 billion (US$46.8 million).
“We now have very strict regulations on this,” Domingo said in London.
“When I came to office (in 2016) this sort of product was contributing Php56 million to the government and we were known as one of the centers for illegal gambling all over the world. Since then we have earned for the government Php21 billion, so you cans see where the money was going.”
Domingo also predicted revenue from land-based casino operations of almost Php100 billion (US$1.98 billion) in 2020. PAGCOR this week confirmed gaming revenue of Php75.75 billion in 2019, an 11.7% increase on the Php67.9 billion reported 12 months earlier.