To maximize State revenues, a lawmaker is proposing that online cockfighting or e-sabong should have identical tax burden as Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators (POGO).
Quezon City Rep. Jesus “Bong” Suntay, a member of the House ways and means committee, said he fully supports calls to tax online betting, especially e-sabong.
“The tax to be imposed is five percent of gross revenue receipts which is similar to the tax imposed on POGOs,” Suntay said.
POGOs, which exclusively cater to foreign bettors outside the Philippines, are currently slapped a 5% tax on gross bets under Republic Act No. 11494 or Bayanihan 2.
Online sabong, on the other hand, is still unregulated and untaxed.
Suntay, who also chairs the House Committee on Human Rights, said there are now numerous online sabong betting sites, noting their proliferation was due to the current pandemic and advent of digital technology.
The solon said he supports calls for online betting taxation so that government can derive additional revenues from it.
He stressed, however, that authorities should strictly regulate cockfighting operations as well as online betting platforms to ensure that minors will be protected and barred from participating.
“The number of online sabong to be held must also be controlled,” adding that cockfights should continue to be a mere past time in the country.
“It shouldn’t be a way of life or a staple in our everyday life, in the same way that most cockfights held in LGUs are only allowed in the rueda every Saturday and Sunday,” he said.
Suntay shared the view of Deputy Speaker and Buhay Partylist Rep. Lito Atienza and Albay Rep. Joey Salceda, chairman of the ways and means panel, that it’s high time for government to impose taxes on on-line sabong.
Atienza, who represents a Catholic charismatic organization, and Salceda said in a recent press conference that they see nothing wrong in imposing taxes on online sabong operations since cockfighting is deemed legal in the country.
Earlier, Balanga Bishop Ruperto Santos chided lawmakers for supporting the proliferation of online sabong instead of pursuing a legislative measure that would prohibit it.
“This online sabong will never be blessing to our country, as it will only be source of problems in the community and division in the family,” Santos warned.