PhilWeb licence to end in Philippines
PhilWeb said more than P2.4 billion (€46.1 million / $51.2 million) in annual tax revenues and 5,000 jobs will be lost after it was told its licence to run electronic casinos in the Philippines will not be renewed.
The company saw its shares tumble to a 22-month low after the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp (PAGCOR) regulator said that the contract, which has run for the last 14 years, will expire on August 10.
Philweb operates almost 300 internet cafes exclusively dedicated to casino games including baccarat, blackjack, various slot machine games and video poker.
However, there have been concerns over the future of its licence since the country’s new President, Rodrigo Duterte, ordered a crackdown on online gambling at his first cabinet meeting in July.
The company has also been negatively affected by President Duterte’s stated campaign to reduce the influence of rich oligarchs. Billionaire PhilWeb chairman and major shareholder Roberto Ongpin, a former Trade Minister, resigned from his post with the company last week after Duterte named him among those he is targeting for alleged political connections.
However, his departure has not caused the new government to reconsider its decision about the future of the gaming cafes and PhilWeb.
PhilWeb president Dennis Valdes told the Philippines Star: “At least 5,000 employees stand to lose their jobs and suppliers of e-Games. In addition, SMEs that supply goods and services to each e-Games outlet would also suffer from the shutdown.”
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