The Philippines introduces changes to its gaming industry

By Violeta Prockyte

The Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp (PAGCOR) has allowed licensed venues in the country to increase seating capacity at poker tables. 

While no concrete numbers were provided, according to the new guidelines there should still be a one-meter distance between players, there should be barriers between the seats and it is mandatory to wear a face mask or face shield while inside the venue. The regulator assured there will be an inspection to ensure the rules were being followed. 

Poker is very popular in the Philippines and there are many private poker rooms in the country. PAGCOR stated the venues are allowed to refurbish or redesign their poker rooms, including connecting two tables into a larger one, to better comply with the guidelines. 

The country’s regulatory services are working to stabilise the gaming industry during the pandemic. The Philippines House of Representatives recently approved a new bill on licensed Philippine offshore gaming operators (POGO) and their foreign workers. 

Based on the new law, POGOs will see a 5% tax on gross revenue from their operations, as currently the calculation is based on net income. Foreign employees working for POGOs, earning a minimum annual salary of PHP600,000 (approximately $12,491) will have to pay an additional 25% tax on their wages. The bill has to get three more successful readings in the Senate before it can be approved by President Rodrigo Duterte. 

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