DOF eyes taxes on casino winnings

Prinz Magtulis - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines – After revealing government plans to sell its casino assets, Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez is now eyeing taxes on casino winnings to help raise more revenues to support the administration’s higher spending next year.

“If you have winnings from casino, that should be taxed,” Dominguez told reporters on the sidelines of the Senate budget briefing yesterday.

Casino winnings, like those from lotto, are currently tax-free.

While declining to provide details, the finance chief said the proposal would be raised separate from the comprehensive tax reform program the Department of Finance intends to unveil next month.

Included in the package so far are proposals to lower income taxes, increase oil excise levies and impose new ones on soft drinks and junk food.

Last week, the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (Pagcor) said it is preparing to sell government-held casinos – including 11 Casino Filipino branches – and just focus on regulating the industry.

The casinos remit an average of P23 billion annually to the government. Dominguez considers the amount negligible and may not be sustainable in view of rising competition in the industry.

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