Isle of Man-based services provider Affinity Group says it has seen an increase in inquiries from Asian-facing iGaming companies considering moving their operations from the Philippines due to a recent tax hike on licensed POGOs.
“The Philippines has historically been a jurisdiction chosen by Asian-facing operators but, following the recent negative press surrounding POGO and more recently the tax increase, we have seen an influx of enquiries from operators who are looking for a suitable license to either continue or start targeting the Asian market,” said Affinity Group director Alex Gardner.
Affinity Group, whose services include company formation and administration, staff and payroll management, tax and VAT efficiency solutions, and regulation compliance, has a clear interest in pushing for new business on the Isle of Man.
However, there is no doubt Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators are facing uncertainty in the wake of COVID-19 with only 32 of 60 licensed POGOs – and 111 of the 218 service providers running under them – having been granted permission to resume business after shutting down for seven weeks due to COVID-19. Those who have resumed are also restricted to 30% of office capacity.
Meanwhile, POGOs have been targeted as a source of much-needed funds for the government’s ongoing battle against the COVID-19 pandemic, with Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte last month signing a new bill into law implementing a 5% tax on turnover instead of the previous 2% franchise tax on revenue.
The bill aims to more than double the tax collected from POGOs this year to Php17.5 billion (US$361.2 million), up from Php7 billion (US$144.5 million) in 2019.