The Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp (Pagcor), the country’s casino and gaming regulator, has written to PhilWeb Corp’s president Dennis Valdes rejecting the firm’s proposal to create a text-based lottery product in the country that could be delivered by mobile phone.
The idea was one of several proposals for saving PhilWeb’s business, while at the same time channelling revenue to government coffers.
Pagcor said on August 8 that the regulator would not renew the operating licence of PhilWeb, a major operator of eGames parlours in that country. The recently installed national president, Rodrigo Duterte, had singled out PhilWeb’s former controlling shareholder, Roberto Ongpin, as an example of one of the country’s “oligarchs”, and indicated his hostility to that class of people.
PhilWeb had said in a letter – filed with the Philippine Stock Exchange on August 24 – that it was willing to revive a plan to operate a text message-based sales platform for the country’s licensed lotteries.
Mr Valdes had said the scheme could produce annual revenues of between PHP50 billion (US$1.04 billion) and PHP100 billion, and that this could serve to “supplement government income”.
It would also be a way of ensuring the business survival of the company without the need to recommence the gaming parlour operation, said Mr Valdes.
But a letter from Pagcor head Andrea Domingo dated September 20 – filed by PhilWeb to the Philippine Stock Exchange on Tuesday – has rejected the proposal.
“The current policy of the government is to strictly regulate and ensure non-proliferation of gambling avenues which are accessible to lower income brackets of society,” wrote Ms Domingo.
In comments made on August 24, Mr Duterte had indicated he might be willing to permit domestic gambling parlours offering games delivered online, provided operators paid the required taxes and the outlets were not near schools and churches in the Catholic-majority nation.
Philippine gaming investor Leisure and Resorts World Corp (LRWC) said on Monday that one of its subsidiaries has been authorised to resume operations at some gaming parlours that offer electronic games for bingo.
LRWC had said on September 8 that two of its wholly-owned units had been separately ordered by the Philippine gaming regulator to cease current operation of some electronic games parlours because of alleged non-compliance with “distance restriction guidelines”.
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"I am not going to speculate on what the [casino licence refreshment] tender requirements would be. I have full confidence and faith in the Macau government to treat everyone fairly"
Wilfred Wong Ying Wai
President and chief operating officer of Macau-based casino operator Sands China