PHILSTAR

THE PHILIPPINE Amusement and Gaming Corp. (PAGCOR) said uncollected revenue flagged by government auditors worth P1.365 billion remains the subject of protest from Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators (POGOs).

In a statement Monday, PAGCOR said the uncollected revenue flagged by the Commission on Audit (CoA) is currently being disputed by the POGOs, who claim that other organizations had illicitly hijacked their gambling live feeds, leading the regulator to overestimate the fees they owe.

They said various websites are emulating the feeds of legal operators, a claim which is being validated to verify the actual amounts owed.

“As an initial remedial measure, the agency imposed assumed or estimated billings for these websites based on the average income performance of the original declared websites of its licensees… These billings were protested by its licensees, on the basis that the websites are actually websites of illegal operators, stealing their live streams and making it appear as the legal websites of our operators,” PAGCOR said.

In its 2020 audit report, CoA took note of PAGCOR’s P1.365 billion in uncollected receivables from 15 POGOs.  

Overall, CoA said P1.382 billion in receivables remain outstanding, depriving PAGCOR of funds for its operations.

Of the 15 POGOs listed, eight have had their licenses canceled by PAGCOR as of 2020 while three remain operational as of Jan. 12, 2021. Two of these three have entered into agreements to restructure their receivables.

In its comment on the audit findings, PAGCOR said that its board has approved the restructuring of P97.33 million worth of receivables, along with an adjustment for uncollected revenues worth P6.08 million.

PAGCOR Chair Andrea D. Domingo said in a House budget briefing on Aug. 27 that more than half of POGO operators have ceased operations and have moved to Cambodia, Vietnam, and Laos. — Russell Louis C. Ku