The Philippine Finance Secretary, Carlos Dominguez, has asked the country’s gaming regulator the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp (Pagcor) to investigate the true scale of average monthly wages for foreign workers within the country’s Philippine Offshore Gaming Operator (POGO) sector, report several local media outlets.
Figures attributed to Chinese media had suggested such foreign, Philippines-based, workers – said often to be Chinese people because the betting services they run are aimed at Chinese consumers – were receiving an average of CNY10,000 (circa US$1,500) per month. That figure had then been used to estimate that evasion of Philippine taxes due to the Bureau of Internal Revenue on such wages could amount annually to PHP22 billion (US$1.49 billion) from an aggregate of up to 100,000 such workers.
POGO-sector representatives are said to have claimed average monthly wages of such workers are only half the amount reported, i.e., CNY5,000.
Last week it was announced that an inter-agency council was being established in the Philippines, reportedly in order to weed out unauthorised online gaming operators.
In mid-February it emerged that the Philippines’ Bureau of Internal Revenue had asked for cooperation from Pagcor regarding a requirement that foreign and Philippines-based offshore gaming operators register with the tax agency before their licences to operate could be renewed by the regulator.
It is a matter of public record that the Bureau of Internal Revenue and Pagcor have had a number of conflicts over the years regarding those agencies’ respective rights and responsibilities when it comes to taxation of licensed gaming entities.
Secretary Dominguez has reportedly asked Pagcor, the Department of Labor and Employment, the country’s Securities and Exchange Commission, the Bureau of Immigration and the various special economic zones that play host to some offshore-facing online gaming operators, to come up with a comprehensive list of foreign workers in POGOs. The parties are set to meet again on Friday (March 29), after an initial meeting that took place last week.
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