PhilWeb gets Pagcor nod to operate

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PHILWEB Corp. has received the go-signal from the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (PAGCOR) to restart operations, the company disclosed to the stock exchange on Friday.

PhilWeb said it has received a letter from Pagcor last Nov. 29, saying it can resume operations as an electronic gaming system service (EGSS) provider to the first 16 PAGCOR-licensed gaming sites for electronic games.

Philweb’s operations will be subjected to further inspection and testing by PAGCOR.

The decision comes less than a month after PAGCOR stopped Philweb from resuming operations, until the agency procures a third party audit service provider for electronic games or Electronic Management Gaming System (EMGS).

To recall, Philweb had announced last October 30 that it received an accreditation from PAGCOR as an EGSS provider for PAGCOR-licensed electronic gaming sites. PAGCOR then had to clarify that the accreditation alone does not grant Philweb permission to conduct operations.

“Philweb, as well as other accredited electronic games providers, have to wait for PAGCOR’s Notice to Proceed before they can commence operations,” PAGCOR said earlier this month.

An EMGS is tasked to oversee the that all gaming service providers comply with existing regulations, while ensuring the accuracy of information provided by licensees and operators.

“With the EGMS in place, PAGCOR can be assured that all its electronic gaming licensees and operators are not only properly regulated but also accurately remit what is due to the government,” PAGCOR said in its earlier statement.

PAGCOR in August last year denied Philweb’s application to renew its license, following President Rodrigo R. Duterte’s sentiments against online gaming at the time, as well as his singling out of its former chairman Roberto V. Ongpin as an “oligarch.”

Mr. Ongpin then chose to divest his stake in the company worth P2 billion in favor of its current chairman, Gregorio Ma. Araneta III in October last year.

Philweb booked a net loss attributable to the parent of P206 million by the end of the third quarter of 2017, still reeling from the loss of its contract with PAGCOR.

Shares in Philweb jumped 1.47% or 13 centavos each to P8.98 at the end of trading on Friday. — Arra B. Francia