The Philippine government has said it would not be easing its pursuit of Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators (POGOs) unpaid taxes following reports that some of them had shut down and left the country.
According to reports, two licenced POGO operators and several service providers have closed operations due to strict tax rules imposed by the Internal Revenue Bureau and statements from the PAGCOR gaming regulator that no POGO would be allowed to resume post-COVID until all liabilities have been paid.
Andrea Domingo, Chairman and CEO of PAGCOR, named Suncity Group and Don Tencess Asian Solutions as the two POGOs leaving, although Suncity denied this to be the case when contacting Inside Asian Gaming.
The company said: “Suncity Group spares no effort to develop itself as a global integrated VIP entertainment conglomerate. The junket business in Manila is definitely important to us and we can’t find any reason to leave Manila at this particular moment.
“In regards to the comment provided by Mdm Andrea Domingo, we think she is referring to telebetting services, which has nothing to do with the junket business that Suncity Group operates in Manila. We will continue to develop our VIP entertainment business in licensed gaming operators in Manila, and provide seamless VIP services to our guests.”
However, the authorities have said they will continue to crack down on POGOs.
Presidential spokesman Harry Roque, with reference to Secretary of Finance Carlos Dominguez III said: “I think Secretary Dominguez will not budge from the position that they need to pay all their taxes, including the franchise tax.”
“Now, although the President has said we need all the resources, all the revenues that we can derive from all, including POGO operations to fund Covid-19 response of the government, I think the bottom line is they have to settle their tax obligations,” Harry Roque added.