The amount of tax collected from Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators (POGOs) grew by 11.7% in 2020, despite the number of operators listed under PAGCOR’s online gaming scheme declining as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to information from the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR), POGO tax reached Php7.18 billion (US$149.3 million) in 2020, up from Php6.43 billion (US$133.7 million) in 2019 and from Php2.36 billion (US$49.1 million) the previous year.
The result is a positive one for the industry moving forward given criticisms from some opponents that the POGO industry has not been fulfilling its revenue expectations.
Notably, the increase comes despite the number of approved operators falling from 60 to 51 in 2020, of which only 34 are currently allowed to operate. A total of 131 service providers are authorized to run online gaming platforms under those 34 approved POGO licenses.
The BIR also surpassed its 2020 revenue target with total revenues of Php1.94 trillion – 15.1% higher than its stated goal of Php1.69 trillion.