Inquiry sought after ruling lowers casino taxes in Philippines

    A senator is pushing for an inquiry into allegations of collusion between the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (Pagcor), the government’s gambling regulator and operator, and four casinos after Pagcor made an arrangement which seemingly means the casinos pay less tax.Pagcor has introduced a measure that apparently lowers licensee fees paid by four casino operators in Entertainment City in Manila by 10 percent.The reduction has come about because of a ruling by the Bureau of Inland Revenue that the casino licensees are liable for corporate income tax at the rate of 30 percent under the National Internal Revenue Code, instead of the five percent franchise tax on their gross gaming revenue as provided for in their casinos licensesSenator JV Ejercito claims the ruling and subsequent agreement between Pagcor and the operators has already resulted in approximately P300 million ($6.8M) of reduced revenue to the government each month.The Senate will be handling the inquiry. Originally casinos were paying Pagcor license fees equivalent to 25 percent of gross gaming revenues from regular tables, slot machines and other gaming machines and 15 percent from high-roller tables and junket operations.But because of the agreement, the license fees were reduced to 15 percent for regular tables, slot machines and other gaming machines and to five percent for high-roller and junket operations.The casinos to benefit have been named as the Travellers International Hotel Group Inc., Bloomberry Resorts and Hotels Inc., MCE Leisure (Philippines) Corp., and Tiger Resorts Leisure and Entertainment Inc.