From Draconian to Progressive in One Year? Adaptive Philippines Regulation Rapidly Taking Shape

Lee R. - May 22, 2017

The Duterte scare already seems a long way off for newly progressive Philippines.

The sometimes controversial jurisdiction created in the Philippines has despite objections become a steady revenue generator and progressive model.   

Major Tax Infusion

Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators (POGO) estimates that PAGCOR the company commissioned by the government to operate online gaming for the Philippines generated some P3 million in taxes monthly from online gaming since the industry started came under government supervision via PAGCOR in December. 

Government Benefits Accelerating

POGO Assistant Vice-President Jose S. Tria estimates that the number will double to P6 million within fiscal year 2017.

Paradigm Shift

This is a strong rebound from when President Rodrigo R. Duterte took office in June 2016 amidst his voiced personal concerns over laxity in regulation and government collections, leading to the opposite reaction of shuttering of many e-gaming sites in what looked like a new hard-line era ushered in by the new president.

Implementing Equity

Nonetheless, the wave of tough talk that swept Duterte into office gave way within a month to a more equitable online gaming stance that included definition of guidelines for implementation of regulation such as stipulating that proper taxes would be collected.

New License Status

Since POGO was established in September to implement regulation, a total of 42 offshore gaming operators serving the Philippine market have registered, with 44 more pending for appointed licensing agency PAGCOR’s approval.

Optimisation Continues

The effectiveness of distribution of revenue still has yet to be fully established, with POGO currently immersed in the process of installing an audit system to track revenue from the gaming industry and account for its collection and redistribution. 

Area of Focus

Trias clarified that the application acceptance process becomes de-prioritized while the monitoring system is optimized, with subsequent application issue on the horizon being funnelled towards established applicants with larger quantities of tables and gaming machines.

Technology Enhancements

Trias further revealed that process-wise POGO is additionally developing further technology to protect the integrity of operations. This includes a platform POGO is working on for adapting equalized revenue collection for both online gaming and land-based gaming, according to a PAGCOR percentage levy on POGO’s gross gaming revenue (GGR) of a uniform 2% tax.

Rhetoric Gives Way

This is quite a turnaround from the intimidating presence of Duterte when he swept into office promising shutdowns in the interests of a full-scale cleanup.

Effective Adaptation Model?

What appears to be emerging in the Philippines is an optimisation of the process of issuing licenses, where operations are being streamlined according to systemized and innovative integrity checks which could become a beacon for implementation of new regulation among other countries as well. 

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