Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators (POGOs) collected PHP7.18bn (US$149.3m) in tax in 2020, a 12% increase from the PHP6.43bn collected in 2019.
According to information from the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR), the amount of tax increased despite a decline in the number of operators listed under the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) online gaming scheme.
Due to the impact of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, the number of approved operators in 2020 fell from 60 to 51, with only 34 currently authorised to operate. A total of 131 service providers are currently permitted to operate online gaming platforms under the 34 approved POGO licences.
The positive news for the industry comes amid increased criticism that the POGO industry has been failing to fulfil its revenue expectations, with crime-related issues also coming to light in recent weeks.
The Philippine National Police Anti-Kidnapping Group earlier this month reported that the number of kidnapping cases involving POGOs had almost doubled in 2020 amid the pandemic. A total of 17 incidents were recorded throughout the year, which represented an 88% increase from the nine cases reported in 2019.
The number of overall gambling-related kidnapping cases throughout the Philippines did, however, decrease by 63%, from 38 in 2019 to 14 in 2020.