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Philippine government expects PAGCOR to carry on delivering tax funds after selloff

The

PAGCOR
Philippine government has expressed confidence that the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) will continue delivering critical tax funds to the country, even after selling off its gaming assets.

Last August, the Philippine Department of Finance (DOF) announced a plan to strip PAGCOR of its right to operate state-owned, public casinos – some of which it has owned for decades.

As such, President Rodrigo Duterte commanded PAGCOR sell off its 11 casinos and 36 gaming facilities, in the hope that privatising the regulatory body would allow it to focus solely on its role as watchdog of the country’s gambling sector.

Moreover, local media reported in May that interested private sector operators would be able to apply for casino licences.

PAGCOR meanwhile has previously voiced concerns that the government could be set to lose as much as PHP24bn (US$475m) in revenue contributions each year as a result of casino privatisation.

But DOF Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez disagrees, telling reporters on Friday as quoted by the Manila Bulletin newspaper: “The revenue stream will still come to the government because they have to pay taxes. We’re not saying that once you are privatised, you are not supposed to pay taxes anymore.”

Appearing to echo Dominguez’ views, PAGCOR Chairperson Andrea D. Domingo told Manila Bulletin reporters there is still a lot of work to do.

“We are for privatisation because that’s what the DOF wants, so we’re not fighting them,” she said. “We’re just figuring out a way how we can still retain that income after privatising these casinos.”

The Philippine government will hope to come up with a tax scheme that will allow it keep hold of PAGCOR’s PHP2bn monthly income from casino operations.

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