The regulated Philippines online gambling industry is one of those unique markets that focuses exclusively on players in others countries – specifically China. Of course relatively few Filipino citizens speak Mandarin Chinese, so huge numbers of Chinese-speaking employees have brought in to serve the legions of Chinese players gambling on Chinese-facing sites that are based in the Philippines.

Many of those Chinese employees were brought into the country illegally and that’s a big problem for the country’s tax collectors, until now. Late last week, Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III announced a new tax framework for gambling operators who employ Chinese citizens. Under the terms of the deal, the government expects to reap nearly $39 million a month in additional tax revenue. That’s particularly impressive given the fact that the country only pulls in about $144 million in online gambling tax annually.

The idea behind the tax is that regulated operations will fund investigations against illegal operators, an idea a government employee laid out in simple terms for a report on Inquirer.net recently saying, “Once all our legal employees receive their documents from the Bureau of Internal Revenue and the Bureau of Immigration, it will be easy to clamp down on unregistered operations, because everyone without proper documents will be illegal.”

All of this discussion on Chinese employees in the Philippines sidesteps the fact that it’s illegal for Chinese citizens to gamble online at all. Representatives of the Philippine government talk their way around this issue by saying that their country’s gambling laws require operators to only market to players who live in countries where online gambling is legal.


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