The Philippines government is contemplating a new bill which would required Filipinos to pay a casino entrance fee of around PHP3,500.
The gambling industry in the Philippines has grown considerably over the last couple of years as the government has encouraged foreign investors to open new casinos in the country and the National Tax Research Center (NTRC) wants to ensure that the government uses every opportunity to benefit from the industry.
Casinos in the Philippines were looking to take advantage of Macau’s casino industry collapse and attract Mainland Chinese and VIP gamblers to the Philippines were gambling laws are a lot friendlier. The plan hasn’t really worked out as gaming analysts have shown that VIP gamblers and Mainland Chinese prefer to visit countries like South Korea, Australia and the United States.
The casino industry experienced a sluggish 2015 and analysts predict a similar trend in 2016.The casino entrance fee would only be applied to Filipino nationals and not foreign individuals according to the new bill and if approved, the Philippines would follow in the footsteps of Singapore who charge locals a $70 fee for 24 access to the casinos and $1400 for 12 months of access.
Representative Peter Unabia is the man behind House Bill 4859 which is called ‘An Act Imposing the Payment of Entrance Fee to Residents of the Philippines that Patronize Casino’.
The bill will have to be reviewed by Congress and if approved, could be rolled out during 2016.The NTRC released a statement which read
Under Section 14(3)(b) of Presidential Decree 1869, Filipino residents with gross income of at least PHP50,000 in the previous year, as certified by the Bureau of Internal Revenue, are allowed to play in casinos. However, the said provision is neither observed nor imposed. Thus, the [new] bill aims to discourage Filipinos from playing in casinos. The proposal to charge an entrance fee in Philippine casinos amounting to PHP3,500 is supported since it would only be collected from those who have the financial capacity to splurge some money in the casinos.
The NTRC has also spent a lot of time studying the horse racing market, lotteries and domestic gaming activities in the country and stated that there is an imbalance in taxation amongst these industries as the casino market appears to be paying lower taxes. The government will look into the recommendations and concerns highlighted by the NTRC and then decide if any policy changes have to be rolled out.