The operation of casino venues in the Philippines has been a subject of discussion for quite some time now and operators in the field claim that the introduction of an entrance fee applied on the operating gambling facilities might positively impact gambling addiction rates in the country. In turn, the National Tax Research Center stated that if the already existing qualifying fee is applied on the regular, it has the potential to discourage casino players with low income to participate in the gambling activities.
On the flip side, the fee will also help boosting the local economy and provided the necessary funding for a wide variety of programs and projects, among which the Build Build Build program, aiming to roll out 75 new gaming projects. The development of the country could be influenced a lot by the additional revenue which could be amassed through the said entrance fee which is proposed by many entities and the NTRC explored the opportunities which such a fee could bring to the industry in the Philippines.
This proposed entrance measure would inevitably affect all players willing to participate in a gambling activity, as the amount of money is going to be demanded on the entrance of the casino venue. It is also expected to limit the access to the locations of players who do not have a sustainable financial background and have tendencies towards developing problem gambling. At the moment there are two bills filed in the House of Representatives which suggest the implementation of such entrance fee for the residents of the country.
Proposal Regarding the Qualifying Fee
However, further in the report bearing the title “Proposed Imposition of Casino Entrance Fee”, the National Tax Research Center stated that in reality there is no need to introduce such fee since the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp already demands a qualifying fee. This amount of money has been collected since the introduction of the regulation back in 1993 and it usually happens in the form of coupons which are received by the casino patrons upon their entrance in a gambling venue. This qualifying fee amounts to some P100 at the moment, and as it is stated by the Department of Finance it should not fall lower than that amount.
Even though the fee is stated by the law, there are still locations which opt for waving it, such as Waterfront Airport Hotel and Casino Mactan as well as the casino venues located in Entertainment City. Throughout the last 12 years, more and more casino venues decide not to introduce such fee in their operating facilities. As for the proposition listed in the report, the NTRC claims that it might be more suitable if the qualifying fee receives a mandatory status and be imposed on all venues. Together with the obligatory character of the fee, it could also be increased so that it could reach P500.
The report also stated that back in October 2017 the Quezon City Council gave green light to a responsible gaming ordinance which is aiming to implement a P500 entrance fee in all electronic bingo facilities located in Quezon City. As for the casino venues, they are going to boast an entrance fee amounting to P1,500. If this measure combines with the proposed higher rates of the qualifying fee, many expect that the levels of problem gambling in the country will decrease and the consequences will be positive.