Philippine tax agency catches errant online casino on second try

Philippine authorities trooped to an office building in the capital to shut an online casino for tax evasion, only to be surprised to find the company wasn’t there.
“This is the difficulty because their offices are virtual,” Internal Revenue Deputy Commissioner Arnel Guballa told reporters in Manila on Friday morning after a planned raid was called off.
Based on the address from the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp., the company was supposed to be based in Pasay City but couldn’t be found. On Friday afternoon, the tax bureau in a statement said it was finally able to close down Synchronization Anywhere For You Inc. but didn’t provide details as to how they were able to track down the company.
The lack of coordination among government agencies is hampering tax collection, with the finance department last year ordering measures to step up oversight.
Offshore gaming operators have multiplied in the Philippines since President Rodrigo Duterte’s government began awarding licenses in 2016, contributing an estimated 6.4 billion pesos of taxes last year.
Offering low betting minimums, the operators target Chinese gamblers that are unable or unwilling to travel to Macau.
Macau does not allow the gaming sector to carry out any promotion of online gambling or place bets via telephone through local casinos. Last year, at least one major junket operator was accused by mainland media of working with online casinos in Southeast Asia.
The Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau said last year that any violation of the law by a junket operator – even if such a violation takes place outside of Macau – could have implications for the suitability of the junket to operate in the SAR. DB/Bloomberg

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