President Rodrigo Duterte, has long been an anti-gambling proponent throughout his term as President of the Philippines. However, he is now changing his opinion about the industry and Duterte Now Favors Online Gambling. Of course, his change of opinion is not on a whim. This is because his government is in need of more revenue.
Online Gambling news websites have made many articles about his anti-gambling stance. This is because Duerte has made several decisions like stopping new casino developments in Boracay and Manila. While he will allow gambling, he is still against gambling “in the barangay-level” because it is more difficult to control.
Duterte Now Favors Online Gambling to Raise Funds for the Pandemic Response
The COVID-19 pandemic has been difficult for the Philippines and they are in need of funds to fight against it. During a television speech last Wednesday, he said he wants online casinos to return to the Philippines.
“Go ahead and gamble” is what Duterte said during the television announcement about the country needing money. This is because “we need money, the most sensible thing is really just to encourage those activities”.
In addition, he also wants more casinos to open and cater to punters as it would generate more revenue. Of course, this is not done for the love of gambling and expects everyone to pay their taxes. Interestingly enough, he did say that online gaming operators mostly cater to Chinese clients and should pay their correct taxes.
In order to operate in the Philippines, online gambling websites must pay a licensing fee and a 5% franchise tax. The Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (PAGCOR) is the institution in charge of collecting licensing fees. On the other hand, the taxes are paid to the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR).
Last year, the BIR saw the collection of taxes rise from POGOs by 11.71% on a year-on-year basis. However, this is because of the collection of unpaid taxes that were paid by POGOs in order to resume operation.
Unfortunately, the BIR expects a 50% annual drop in taxes from POGO this year. This is because the number of POGOs operating is down from 61 companies to 31. Needless to say, the country needs to boost their revenue to pay for the pandemic bill. Thus, they want need $57.41 billion from gambling revenues to help offset $94.45 billion increase in government spending.