PhilWeb Corp., the software provider to 268 eGames internet cafes in the Philippines, filed a report with the stock exchange there, published today noting that the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp (Pagcor) is “expediting the procurement process” for the company’s license.
The letter from Pagcor Chairman and CEO, Andrea Domingo was dated December 11 and marked as received by PhilWeb on December 22, the same day President Rodrigo Duterte sent publicly traded gaming stocks tumbling on an announcement that he was “ordering the closure of all online gambling” in the country. That statement was later clarified by Pagcor and cabinet level officials as having to do only with ‘illegal’ gaming concerns.
In the letter from Domingo, she states that PhilWeb’s license can not simply be renewed but that, “the selection of the service provider for Pagcor’s online gaming operations will be in accordance to the Republic Act 9184 preferably through public bidding.”
The Company received a license from Pagcor in 2003 to launch eGames Stations, which are Internet cafes exclusively dedicated to casino games. Domingo notes in her letter of December 11 that at the time, PhilWeb “was essentially the lone service provider more or less a decade ago,” and that is no longer the case.
PhilWeb’s license expired on August 10 and was not renewed, but the assurance from Pagcor that the process is being expedited and “on schedule with the timeline [we] provided [your] representatives” is seen as a positive sign, especially after government clarification that Pagcor will still issue online gambling licenses, and the fact that none of PhilWeb’s games can be played from home or office locations.
However, the timing of the letter and current lack of confirmation of it from Pagcor as policy (as of press time) make sureness unclear.
The 286 existing e-Games centers employed about 5,000 workers. PhilWeb chairman Gregorio Ma. Araneta III has said that they will all return to work once a license is in hand.