By CHINO S. LEYCO
Government’s gaming regulator and tax authorities will impose much stringent accreditation procedures for offshore online casinos to rid out non-registered and tax evading operators.
The Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (Pagcor) said that stronger vetting process of Philippine offshore gaming operators (POGO) will be imposed, while the Department of Finance (DOF) is requiring all online casinos to immediately settle all their past and present tax dues.
Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III said that POGO service providers and franchise-holders must pay their 2019 income tax liabilities before they will be allowed by the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) to resume operations.
Dominguez also said that both service providers and licensees must remit to the BIR all current 2020 withholding tax liabilities.
“They must also execute an undertaking to pay the BIR all their arrears. Once these are complied with the BIR will issue a tax clearance to enable them to operate,” Dominguez told reporters in a mobile phone message.
Meanwhile, Pagcor said that all forms of illegal gambling in the country – whether it is land-based or online — should be apprehended, noting the regulator supports calls for a stronger vetting process of POGOs.
Last Tuesday, law enforcers raided an illegal or non-registered offshore gaming operator (NOGO) in Makati City.
“Even when the gaming industry operations were suspended during the enhanced community quarantine in Luzon, the government’s anti-illegal gambling measures are not suspended,” Pagcor said.
“Thus, arrests and raids being carried out by our law enforcement agencies will be carried out, should the need arise,” it added.
In March, Pagcor entered into a mutual cooperation agreement with the Philippine National Police (PNP), National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), Bureau of Immigration (BI) and the Office of Cybercrime (OOC) under the Department of Justice (DOJ).
Pagcor said it will continue to cooperate closely with the members of the inter-agency task force and other law enforcement agencies to help arrest and penalize illegal gambling operators in the country.
The recent crackdown of illegal online gaming operations in Makati was actually one of the results of this concerted inter-agency effort, Pagcor said.