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NTRC recommends higher casino entrance fee

The Philippines’ national tax think-tank has recommended an increase in the entrance fees required for players to enter casinos in the country, and to make their collection compulsory.

In a research report titled “Proposed Imposition of Casino Entrance Fee.”, the National Tax Research Center (NTRC) said that an amendment and enforcement of the Executive Order (EO) No. 48 issued in 1993 would be all that is needed to impose a casino entrance fee in the country.

According to the EO, Pagcor has been authorized since 1993 to collect a qualifying fee from casino players of not less than P100 per player, gathered in the form of coupons.

However, while the EO 48 has allowed for the collection of the qualifying fee, it has been waived in a number of casinos in the country, including Waterfront Airport Hotel, Casino Mactan as well as those located in Entertainment City, said the NTRC - noting that the fee until now has been viewed as optional.

“Perhaps what can be done is to make the collection of qualifying fee compulsory for players in all casinos operating in the Philippines whether PAGCOR operated casinos or licensed casinos,” said the research body in its report.

It has also called for an increase from the current rate of P100, to up to P1500 to “discourage low-income earners from engaging in casino gambling.”

“Notwithstanding its contribution to the country’s economic growth and potential to generate government revenue, gambling also has its attendant social costs which must be managed carefully. The collection of higher qualifying fee in all casinos could be a practical way to discourage those who do not have enough money to spend in casinos,” said the NTRC.

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