Four casinos at Entertainment City have been ordered by the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. to restore a license fee cut that was given by the previous administration. Four gaming venues will now have to pay a 10% license fee that was previously not required.
Andrea D. Domingo is the chairperson for PAGCOR that stated in the Manila Bulletin that they have notified the gaming operators of the change. The four casinos affected include Tiger Resorts Leisure and Entertainment Inc., Bloomberry Resorts and Hotels Inc., MCE Leisure (Philippines) Corp. and Travellers International Hotel Group Inc.
According to Domingo, the fees that were once cut had to be reinstated due to special rates being imposed for casinos that caused a loss of P7 billion by the Commission on Audit. Domingo stated that the casinos are objecting to the fees being brought back. PAGCOR gave each operator a copy of the audit observation memorandum that was issued by the Commission on Audit Resident Auditor to better explain.
The licensing fees for Entertainment City gaming operators were lowered in May of 2014 once the Bureau of Internal Revenue decided to bring about a 30% income tax to gaming companies in the region. Before the reduction was decided, PAGCOR was considering a 15% share of gross gaming revenues from casinos to be provided via high roller gaming tables as well as junket operations. A 25% tax was being considered for the non-high roller gaming tables as well as electronic gaming and slot machines.
According to Domingo, the contract between PAGCOR and the operators will have to be honored with the appropriate licensing fees paid as was agreed upon with the private entities and the regulator. Domingo also pointed out that the regulator, which is state owned and controlled, is required by law to follow the order as presented by the government auditors. Basically, stating the contract and information provided by the auditor must be followed.
Earlier, a granted tax break, given to offset unplanned corporate income taxes, was taken away.