The Philippine gaming regulator says the nearly PHP1.37 billion (US$27.3 million) in past due receivables from Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators (POGOs) “remains unresolved due to the unsettled protests” filed by some of the licensees.
In a Monday press release, the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp (Pagcor) said the receivables flagged by the country’s Commission on Audit “were products” of Pagcor’s “intensive fight against illegal online gambling”.
According to the 2020 annual audit report on Pagcor, the regulator has been unable to collect receivables in the aggregate amount of PHP1.38 billion. Receivables from POGOs account for 98.8 percent of the total amount, stated the public spending watchdog.
In its Monday release, Pagcor stated that between 2018 and 2020 it “intensified its regulatory efforts by conducting research and carrying out investigations on undeclared websites, games and operations which are supposedly linked to the agency’s POGO licensees.”
It added: “Pagcor found several websites which appear to be mirrors of the declared websites of its operators as they contain their games, with some even containing their brands or logos.”
As such, Pagcor said it created estimated tax bills for these websites “based on the average income performance of the original declared websites of its licensees.”
“These billings were protested by its licensees, on the basis that the websites are actually websites of illegal operators, stealing their live streams and making it appear as the legal websites of our operators,” added the agency.
Pagcor said additionally that the amount of tax billed, and the discovered websites were “still in the process of revalidation pursuant to existing procedures”. It added: “While some have already been resolved, the others are still undergoing thorough validation.”
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