House panel OKs tax on online sabong
Committee chairman and Albay Rep. Joey Salceda passed House Bill 7919, which seeks to impose a five-percent tax on gross revenues derived from offsite betting activities on locally licensed online games.
STAR/File

House panel OKs tax on online sabong

Edu Punay (The Philippine Star) - November 24, 2020 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The House ways and means committee yesterday approved a bill imposing taxes on online sabong.

Committee chairman and Albay Rep. Joey Salceda passed House Bill 7919, which seeks to impose a five-percent tax on gross revenues derived from offsite betting activities on locally licensed online games.

The five-percent tax is apart from the taxes imposed by local government units (LGUs) and from regulatory fees and charges imposed by government agencies.

“The operations of online betting on sabong are authorized by local ordinances. Because of the digital shift, there are now electronic betting operations on such games. But the electronic aspect of it is a gray area, eventhough the airwaves is national property,” Salceda said.

“Because of this ambiguity, we are unable to levy national taxes on these activities. By clarifying this gray area, we hope to raise more than what the BIR collected from cockpits in 2019,” Salceda added, referring to the Bureau of Internal Revenue.

The proposal aims to maximize the revenue-generating capacity of the government, subject to the provisions on the delineation of functions among the LGUs, BIR, Games and Amusement Board (GAB) and other government agencies involved in tax collection.

While LGUs will still have full regulatory and revenue collecting powers over in-premise games and betting, the measure designates the GAB as regulator of all bets made through electronic means.

Salceda said the bill seeks more transparency in the gaming sector as it empowers the BIR to accredit and inspect gambling devices used to verify tax assessments.

It also authorizes the LGUs to license games under their jurisdictions.

Gaming operators are required to specify “offsite betting activities on locally licensed games” in disclosures and documents needed by the BIR and other regulatory agencies.

ONLINE SABONG
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