Philippines iGaming Operator Hit with Tax Avoidance Allegations
The Philippines has had a troubled relationship with gambling and that relationship has just taken another hit after the government closed one of the country’s largest operators. The closure was forced upon the Great Empire Gaming and Amusement Corporation following an operation by the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR).
The closure came following allegations that the firm had not been paying the right amount of VAT, and according to a local news source, it resulted in the immediate loss of over 8,000 jobs. This has had a devastating impact on the iGaming industry in the Philippines, one that will be felt for many months and even years to come.
According to a spokesperson for the Bureau of Internal Revenue, the company in question held a license from the Philippine Offshore Gaming Operator, known simply as the POGO. However, there were some alleged discrepancies with regards to their operation, including the fact that two of their offices had not registered to pay tax.
They gave them a period of time in which they had to repay the tax that they owed, but when they failed to comply with these demands the regulators were forced to take action and close operations.
This follows a pledge that the Financial Secretary made to shut down any licensed operations that were adjudged to be in tax arrears. This pledge reportedly came following an investigation that suggested more than 130 notices had been issued to legal operators, covering tax liabilities worth more than $400 million.
Last month there was a suspension of all new POGO licenses, but before this freeze took effect around 60 such licenses had been issued. According to official reports, these providers had paid close to $4 million in taxes for the month of August, while the license fees had generated an additional sum said to be worth in excess of $26 million.