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Operators considering Isle of Man switch after POGO tax hike

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Operators considering Isle of Man switch after POGO tax hike
Alex Gardner, director of Affinity Group
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A significant tax hike for Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators (POGOs) could lead to an influx of companies looking to move to the Isle of Man, according to one industry expert.   

Egaming companies in the Philippines are facing a more-than-double tax hike after new rules were signed into law. 

POGOs – companies licensed by the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) to provide offshore gaming services – will have to pay 5% tax on turnover, replacing the previous 2% gross revenue tax. 

Failure to comply could result in companies losing their PAGCOR licences and it seems many companies are exploring other options.  

Alex Gardner, director of Isle of Man-based Affinity Group, which supports egaming operators looking to set up in the Isle of Man, said the company had noticed an uptick in enquires.

 She said: “The Philippines has historically been a jurisdiction chosen by Asian-facing operators but, following the recent negative press surrounding POGO and more recently the tax increase, we have seen an influx of enquiries from operators who are looking for a suitable licence to either continue or start targeting the Asian market.  

“The Isle of Man is perfect for this having developed an international reputation as being a leader in the egaming industry and is already home to some of the biggest Asian facing operators in the world.  

“As a company that has helped many start-ups and established companies through the Isle of Man Licence licensing process it is understandable that many operators are considering moving their operations from the Philippines.”

The bill in the Philippines has been signed into law by president Rodrigo Duterte as part of the Bayanihan to Recover as One Act, as the Philippines aims to close gaps in its Covid-19 relief fund. 

All 60 licensees were forced to halt operations as part of the Covid-19 lockdown and the government has seemingly taken this opportunity to crack down on companies failing to meet tax obligations. Only 29 have since been granted permission to resume activities. 

Filipino politician Franklin Drilon said: “The Bayanihan 2 will more than double the tax collection from POGO, from Php7 billion (US$144.5 million) estimated collection in 2019 to approximately Php17.5 billion (US$361.2 million) this year because of the reforms we have introduced in the measure. 

“All revenues from POGO will be used to fund the various types of assistance laid out in the Bayanihan 2 for all sectors affected by the pandemic.” 

PAGCOR and the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) said in May that all POGOs and their service providers must fulfil certain prerequisites before being given the green light to resume activity, including settling any outstanding tax liabilities as certified by the BIR, updating payment of any regulatory fees, license fees, performance bonds or penalties owed to PAGCOR, and remittance of all regulatory fees. 

Industry News

EGT Interactive Partners with ZonaGioco

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EGT Interactive has entered into a partnership with ZonaGioco, a famous casino operator in Italy.

As per the deal, EGT’s portfolio is now available on ZonaGioco. The integration is through Octavian Lab, an Italian software house that offers a fully customisable online betting and gaming platform solution.

Players at ZonaGioco can now enjoy titles like 100 Super Hot, Shining Crown, Flaming Hot, Amazons’ Battle, Zodiac Wheel and many more.

The partnership with ZonaGioco grows the provider’s footprint in Italy-regulated territory and increases its reach.

“ZonaGioco is a well-known operator in Italy with an impressive reach. We are delighted to partner with them and to offer our famous games to more and more players across this market,” Todor Zahariev, Managing Director of EGT Interactive, said.

“Intend to facilitate consolidation of the proposals and ensure our customers the possibility of an increasingly captivating choice suited to their tastes and expectations. The partnership with the EGT Interactive provider ensures us the most appropriate experience and solidity to meet this commitment. We are confident that the operating agreement reached will see us together in supporting and relaunching our respective activities,” Fabrizio Frenna, Managing Director of Zonagioco, said.

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ANJ Opens Public Consultation on Gambling Advertising in France

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French national gambling regulator L’Autorité Nationale des Jeux (ANJ) has hosted its first citizen workshop on gambling advertising.

The body of research is one part of the ANJ’s “public consultation phase” on the prominence of gambling advertising launched by the regulator following the conclusion of UEFA Euro 2020.

This month, the regulator will host workshops across French provinces, seeking diverse public opinions on how France should update its advertising laws to moderate gambling advertising and protect young and vulnerable gamblers.

ANJ launched its national review after concluding that licensed operators failed to meet its pre-EURO 2020 warnings on advertising standards.

The regulator has split its public research into two phases that will see its citizen workshops followed by an online questionnaire that aims to secure direct feedback on current French gambling adverts.

The ANJ’s advertising research will be supported by France’s ARPP (Professional Advertising Regulatory Authority) and the country’s public health networks to ensure that “gambling is maintained as a recreational practice”.

French licensed operators have also been reminded of their duties to submit “a mid-term activity” report outlining their advertising campaigns scheduled for the remainder of 2021.

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Industry News

Stanleybet Group Signs Deal with Fast Track

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Stanleybet Group Signs Deal with Fast Track
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Stanleybet Group has chosen Fast Track CRM to power player engagement for their online offering.

Fast Track CRM is built on a rich real-time data feed that enables operators to engage players instantly based on their behaviours. The platform also provides simple, visual workflows for operators to create and orchestrate complex sets of engagements. Stanleybet Group will be able to use the rich data in the platform to create granular segmentation models and get a deeper understanding of their players.

“We have been operating online for just over a decade and feel it’s time to revamp our engagement strategy and really show our players everything we have to offer. Fast Track is the perfect partner for this next phase in our online journey and can provide a solution to all the challenges we are facing in scaling our communications and rewards,” Joris Petllion, Director of Online at Stanleybet Group, said.

“Working with a brand like Stanleybet Group, that is a household name and has a long history in the industry, is a privilege. We hope to take all that history and power in their brand and enable them to work in a smart and scalable way to delight their online player base,” Simon Lidzén, Co-Founder and CEO of Fast Track, said.

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