MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Finance (DOF) is confident that the government will continue to earn revenues from state-owned gaming and amusement establishments once these assets are unloaded from the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (Pagcor).
The DOF Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III said the Philippine government will get additional tax revenues, while Pagcor is believed to generate higher license fees from the future owners of these state-run casinos, which are being planned for privatization.
“The revenue stream will still come from the government because they have to pay taxes. We’re not saying that once you are privatized, you are not supposed to pay taxes anymore,” Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III told reporters on late Friday, June 30.
“Casinos pay a specific rate of tax line, they [also] pay for the right to have a casino, then they have to pay for a certain percentage of their gross etc. So, the government will still earn the money,” DOF chief said.
Pagcor Chairperson Andrea D. Domingo earlier said that the government is graced to lose P24 billion in annual revenues if all state-owned and -run casinos are sold to the private companies.
“We have to figure out how we can still retain [that amount] because the income of the Pagcor owned and Pagcor operated casinos is P2 billion a month, or P24 billion a year, equivalent to about 40 percent of our total gross revenues,” Pagcor Chairperson Domingo said.
However, Dominguez said that the Pagcor should stick with its regulator purpose and move away from the gambling business.
“Privatization is like selling your assets, so how can you say I’ll sell my assets—let’s say you own an apartment—I’ll sell it but I still want the rental, how can you do that?” Dominguez said.
“Pagcor is a regulatory body, this is where you start getting confused, between are you a regulatory body or are you a revenue generating organization?” the DOF brass said.
“Now as a revenue generating agency, Pagcor is not an entity by itself, it’s part of the government, and generally if you generate revenue that goes to the Treasury, so Pagcor is just a revenue generating organization, but we think the more important is the regulatory function,” Dominguez added. — Velvetiere.com