The Philippine gaming regulator says monthly regulatory revenue from locally-based online gaming operators has halved to PHP300 million (US$6.2 million), as only 32 out of 60 companies have been allowed to resume operations since May, and in each case at only 30-percent capacity.
The Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp (Pagcor) authorised in May a “partial resumption” of business for the Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators (POGOs) serving overseas customers. The regulator said at the time that the resumption of operations was being permitted under “stringent conditions” and aimed to help the national government “raise necessary funds to combat the Covid-19 pandemic”.
Jose Tria, assistant vice president of Pagcor’s offshore gaming licensing department, told local media on Thursday that the licences of five POGOs had been cancelled and another five had been suspended, while 42 service providers had requested to cancel their accreditation.
According to the official, POGOs have cited restrictions on operations due to the pandemic; the inability of Chinese workers to return to the Philippines; and more stringent tax policies, as reasons for the recent closures.
The country’s Finance Secretary, Carlos Dominguez, was quoted by local media as saying that the government’s revenue, including that from corporate and value-added taxes from the real-estate sector and other dependent businesses, was likely to be “adversely affected” by the downturn in the POGO industry. He added that a number of office leases had already been cancelled by online gaming operators, as their Chinese workers had been returning home since the start of the pandemic.
But presidential spokesman Harry Roque said in a Thursday press conference, that there was no exodus of POGOs from the country, saying that only a number of companies had complied with the government requirements, and thus been allowed to resume operations.
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