House OKs bill imposing taxes on e-sabong

RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Dec 15 2020 09:24 PM

MANILA — The House of Representatives has approved a proposed measure that would tax offsite betting on locally licensed cockfights and derbies.

Voting 215-1, the House lawmakers approved House Bill No. 8065, which amends section 125 of the National Internal Revenue Code of 1997.

In a statement last week, House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Joey Salceda said the measure taxes an industry previously not taxed, “without causing any economic harm.” 

“Wagering is a demand inelastic non-essential...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, even though the airwaves is national property,” Salceda said. 

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Under the proposal, the tax should be 5 percent of gross revenues derived from offsite betting activities on locally licensed games. It will not be in lieu of taxes required by the local government units, and regulatory fees and charges imposed by government agencies. 

LGUs maintain full regulatory and revenue collecting powers over in-premise games and betting.

“Because of this ambiguity, we are unable to levy national taxes on these activities. By clarifying this gray area in my proposal, we hope to raise multiples more in revenues than the BIR collection from cockpits of P13.7M in 2019,” he said. 

The proposal is expected to raise at least P1.25 billion on its first full year of implementation.

The approval of the bill paves the way for the Senate’s action on the measure.

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