Taxes collected from Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators have reached just Php2.05 billion (US$40.3 million) through the first seven months of 2021, representing a significant decline on the rate of collection in each of the previous two years.
According to a report by the Inquirer, taxes collected from POGO operators and their workers are down when compared to the Php7.18 billion (US$141.2 million) collected in 2020 and Php6.42 billion (US$126.2 million) in 2019. It was, however, tracking better than 2018 when just Php2.38 billion (US$46.8 million) in POGO taxes were collected.
The decline has been attributed to multiple reasons, including implementation of a new POGO tax law, crackdowns on gambling in mainland China and the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Latest PAGCOR figures show just 36 POGO licensees as of 6 August 2021, down from more than 60 pre-COVID, with the 133 accredited service providers operating under them down from 218.
As reported by Inside Asian Gaming, the number of POGO licensees could fall even further with the Philippines’ Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC) this week naming two that have failed or refused to cooperate with compliance checks. Those POGOs, MG Universal Link Limited and Inner Strong Limited, now face having their licenses revoked.