China-centric online casinos in the Philippines will incur more losses and more are expected to shut after a pandemic relief law imposed a new tax on the industry, a gaming authority official said.
The law, signed by President Rodrigo R. Duterte earlier this month, imposes a 5% franchise tax on offshore gaming operators’ gross bets. That’s a change from the current franchise tax imposed on gross gaming revenue, Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (PAGCOR) assistant vice-president Jose S. Tria, Jr. said.
“This new formula will surely result in serious losses for Philippine offshore gaming operators,” Mr. Tria said in a mobile-phone message. “We expect them to close shop.”
Online casinos are already reeling from months of shutdown amid the pandemic-induced lockdown, with 40% of operators still closed, based on a list from the gaming authority. Demand for office spaces could take a “short-lived” hit as offshore gaming operators leave, the Philippine central bank said. — Andreo Calonzo/Bloomberg