PhilWeb gets ‘provisional’ license

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Visitors at the Alphaland Southgate Exhibit in Makati try to acquaint themselves with online gaming machines at an e-games station in this file photo taken on April 2, 2013. BW FILE PHOTO

By Arra B. Francia, Reporter

PHILWEB Corp. has secured “provisional” accreditation from the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (PAGCOR) to resume its operation of electronic gaming sites in the country.

Roberto Ongpin resigned as chairman and director of PhilWeb on Aug. 4, 2016 to supposedly spare the PhilWeb from President Rodrigo R. Duterte’s threat to “destroy” the country’s “oligarchs.” BW FILE PHOTO

In a statement on Tuesday, the listed gaming firm said PAGCOR has granted it a Provisional Certificate of Accreditation to be an accredited Electronic Gaming System (EGS) Service Provider.

Being an accredited EGS service provider means the company can offer software and other services to the operators of PAGCOR-licensed gaming sites for electronic games.

“PAGCOR will soon conduct an inspection of PhilWeb’s servers and gaming facilities as required under the accreditation rules, after which it may then issue a notice to operate,” PhilWeb said in the statement.

The approval of the accreditation comes a year after PhilWeb’s license to supply software systems to gaming sites expired in August 2016.

In a letter to PAGCOR by former PhilWeb Chairman Roberto V. Ongpin, PAGCOR’s decision not to renew the license resulted to the loss of jobs for 6,000 PhilWeb and e-Games employees, as well as the wipe-out of P1.8 billion in investments of 131 operators of e-Games cafes.

Mr. Ongpin then divested his shares from the company totalling 771.7 million shares or a majority stake of 53.75% to the Araneta family.

For his part, PhilWeb Chairman Gregorio Ma. Araneta III said the company can once again contribute revenues to PAGCOR, which amounted to P2 billion in 2015 — its last full year of operations before its contract with PAGCOR expired.

“(I am) very confident that PhilWeb can now go back to doing what it does best which is to be a service provider for electronic games, and in so doing, can contribute a significant amount of revenue to PAGCOR,” Mr. Araneta said in a statement.

At end 2016, the company served a total of 288 operating e-Games cafes across the country, with majority being owned and operated by independent operators. 

Following the company’s announcement of the license renewal, shares in PhilWeb soared by 17.18% to P11.12 apiece, adding P1.63 from the stock’s price in the previous trading day.

PhilWeb reported a net loss of P68 million in the second quarter of 2017, against the P22.18-million net profit it realized in the same period last year. This follows a P38.96-million revenue for the period, outpaced by the P119.14-million expenses it incurred.