Crackdown follows a series of similar raids
The New Oriental Club 88 Corporation’s (NOCC) operations have been shut down following a raid by authorities in the Philippines. In total, 11 branches have been shut down, with authorities padlocking each of these premises.
This Philippine Offshore Gambling Operator (POGO) is the largest in the nation today. The Department of Finance (DOF) and the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) worked together to investigate this POGO. A joint task force is working to expose operators that are not fully tax compliant.
11 branches have been shut down, with authorities padlocking each of these premises
The NOCC’s operations will be closed down until further notice due to not properly registering and paying taxes. Some of the main operations that the NOCC deals with include live studio streaming and customer support.
Deputy Commissioner of the BIR Arnel Guballa has admitted that NOCC’s Makai City head office was fully registered. However, it was the office in Paranaque that was not registered.
Thousands of Chinese employees
According to authorities, at least 600 Chinese workers worked at the Paranaque office, with just 50 locals on the payroll.
What happens next?
Other POGOs have been targeted through similar investigations and raids. Once the POGO has fully registered and paid all taxes owed, they will be given the green light to reopen.
In the specific case of NOCC, the debts are significant. According to authorities, the unpaid tax bill is in the “billions”. To put this into perspective, one billion Philippine pesos equates to $19.67m.
Campaign against tax avoiding POGOs
This campaign against POGOs avoiding taxes and using Chinese workers without permits has been ongoing for some time.
Other notable POGOs that were shut down for similar offenses were Great Empire Gaming and Altech. Great Empire Gaming is the second-largest POGO in the country and its outstanding tax bill was $4m. After agreeing to a payment plan for their unpaid taxes, they were allowed to reopen.
Great Empire Gaming is the second-largest POGO in the country and its outstanding tax bill was $4m
A lot of issues stem back to foreign workers not paying the 25% withholding tax that is in place. There are currently 218 POGOs operating in the country. With approximately 11,000 foreign workers in the sector, this tax is set to generate around $468m each year.
There are also concerns that people are coming from the likes of China and embezzling funds through POGOs. This is why the Chinese government asked the Philippines to ban these operations. However, President Duterte refused to do so.