For some time now, the gaming regulator of the Philippines – the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) – has been trying to raise enough funds to contribute to various social programs. Recently, a new audit has indicated that the country’s gambling watchdog may have not managed to collect as much as PHP2.33 billion from so-called POGOs, as the Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators are usually called, over the past 5 years.
According to reports, for the time being there are over 50 POGOs that operate in the Philippines. The most recent audit carried out by the local gambling regulatory body indicates that PAGCOR has been facing difficulties to enforce proper tax collection across the sector. Not all the money generated by the operators is under question, though, because some of the companies claim that the regulator has improperly and unjustly requested up to PHP815.9 million from them. As a result, the sums are under “protest”.
The remaining part of the sum requested by PAGCOR is estimated to be approximately PHP1.5 billion. It, however, has not been collected by the regulator over the past 5 years, which basically means that the watchdog has not been receiving some important revenue that is extremely relevant to funding good causes.
PAGCOR Trying to Tackle Illegal and Unlicensed Gambling in the Philippines
The Commission on Audit explained that the offshore gaming operators have been finding it hard to pay their full duties to the country’s authorities even though there are certain collection procedures in place that should not have been violated in the first place.
As a result of the audit, PAGCOR is expected to be provided with some valuable information that would help it consider the implementation of some improvements to its existing collection procedures and effectively make sure that so-called POGOs pay their dues in full as they are supposed to. Under the rules, the Philippine offshore gaming operators are supposed to make the due payments by the 15th of each month.
At the same time, the Philippine gambling regulatory body has recently been facing other difficulties, too. PAGCOR has been trying to tackle illegal and unregulated gambling, offered at both brick-and-mortar venues and online. While the watchdog has been trying to address the illicit gaming industry, it decided to contact auditors as early as 2017 in order to make sure that the regulated gambling sector in the country is operating as intended, too.
When commenting on the offshore gambling operators that have acknowledged their due payments and still refused to pay under protest, PAGCOR has revealed that the companies had objected to the regulatory fees that are being collected by the watchdog. The country’s gambling watchdog has been working to process the aforementioned fees while accounting for objections for the Philippine offshore gaming operators.
The audit commission, however, came to the conclusion that PAGCOR needs to make sure that all companies licensed by it are strictly complying with the fee collection process and that a protest fee has to be imposed on disputed payments.