Operators in the island nation that survive PAGCOR’s purge will find themselves trapped in a market without a boatload of tax breaks they’ve relied on for years.
Earlier this week, PAGCOR announced plans to revoke a popular plan that slashed the percentage of gross income and revenue that’s used to determine licensing fees. In some cases, operators will see their fees rise as much as much as 15%. The old rates had been in effect since 2014.
PAGCOR’s change of heart regarding licensing fees comes right on the heels of its decision to revoke, or simply not renew, dozens of gaming licenses for Philippines, and Philippines facing, online and land-based casinos.
PAGCOR boss Andrea Domingo says her agency’s action are all at the behest of newly elected Philippines President Robert Duterte. Duterte, a law-and-order candidate in the mold of Vladimir Putin, has declared all out war on gambling and other vices that don’t jibe with his moral code.
Gambling is not, however, the only vice on Duterte’s radar; illegal drug users and dealers have also been the targets to his administration’s wrath.
According to a report in the Guardian, more than 1,000 people associated with illegal drug use and sales have been subject to extrajudicial killings since Duterte took office. Even worse, the Guardian reports that the vigilantes death squads and police doing this dirty work are working off lists of names compiled by local police departments with the blessings of the Duterte administration.
It’s Duterte’s belief that gambling is making Filipinos lazy and that collecting taxes from the industry is, somehow, difficult for government agencies.
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