Philippines-based PhilWeb Corp’s new chairman Gregorio Araneta confirmed in a Monday filing to the Philippine Stock Exchange that he hopes PhilWeb “will be given a licence” for e-Games operations from the local regulator “by the end of this year”.
PhilWeb had previously run a network of 286 domestic gaming parlours offering Internet-delivered games according to company information. But on August 8, the regulator, the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp, also known as Pagcor, announced it would not be renewing PhilWeb’s right to do so.
PhilWeb’s founder and former major shareholder, Roberto Ongpin, stepped down as PhilWeb’s chairman on August 4, after the country’s head of state, President Rodrigo Duterte, singled out Mr Ongpin as an example of an “oligarch” he would bring down during his term. In the Philippines, the senior management team of the gaming regulator typically changes with the installation of a new national president.
Mr Ongpin further distanced himself from the business by selling in October his 771,651,896 shares in PhilWeb – equivalent to a 53.76 percent stake and held via a group of companies – to Gregorio Araneta Inc for PHP2.60 (US$0.0534) per share.
In early October, PhilWeb said it had asked Pagcor for permission to recommence operation of electronic games parlours in the light of the group’s own transition to a new leadership.
The Manila Times newspaper had reported on Sunday – quoting Mr Araneta – that the businessman was in talks with Pagcor and the country’s Securities and Exchange Commission, and “expected” to take over PhilWeb fully and secure a Pagcor licence before December 31.
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"The [Macau] government has a lead in this subject in regards to what should be done after the [gaming] concessions expire. We will be first listening to what the government will say”
Ambrose So Shu Fai
Vice-chairman and chief executive at Macau casino operator SJM Holdings