hilWeb Corp. will appeal to gaming regulator Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (Pagcor) for the renewal of its license on grounds that it is not an online gaming company.
Company president Dennis Valdes said PhilWeb wrote to Pagcor chairman Andrea Domingo yesterday requesting for a meeting to clarify matters after the regulator decided not to renew PhilWeb’s license to operate when it expires on Aug. 10.
“PhilWeb is merely a software provider to Pagcor for its network of e-Games outlets,” he said.
“We are not online gaming. Our software cannot be played from homes or offices,” he said.
Each e-Games outlet is owned by an individual entrepreneur whose gaming license is issued by Pagcor directly to them, Valdes said.
The listed company fears closure after President Duterte launched a massive campaign against online gaming and when he singled out Roberto Ongpin, PhilWeb’s resigned chairman and director, in his anti-oligarchy pitch.
Valdes said Ongpin resigned to save PhilWeb, which is also owned by some 1,500 local and foreign shareholders.
Without a license to operate, PhilWeb would shut down all operations, including 286 e-Games outlets operated by Pagcor licensees.
Valdes said the potential shutdown of the e-Games network will likely cause the sudden closure of a publicly listed company.
“At least 5,000 employees stand to lose their jobs and suppliers of e-Games,” he said.
“In addition, SMEs that supply goods and services to each e-Games outlet would also suffer from the shutdown.”
In 2015, the e-Games network contributed P2.1 billion to Pagcor and over P14 billion in the past 14 years, he added.
Valdes said Duterte might have been misinformed on the business of PhilWeb.
“Thus, we are seeking the meeting with chairman Domingo so that we may fully explain our side. As a publicly listed company on the Philippine Stock Exchange, our records are fully open to public scrutiny and are available for a full investigation at any time.”
Ongpin, a prominent businessman and former trade minister during the Marcos era, resigned on Aug. 4 following Duterte’s pronouncements.
His daughter Anna Bettina Ongpin also resigned as PhilWeb’s vice chairman and director.
He holds 53 percent of the shares of PhilWeb.
PhilWeb’s five-year intellectual property license agreement with Pagcor lapsed on July 11, but the gaming regulator extended this until Aug. 10.
The company’s share prices plunged 43.06 percent yesterday to P5.13 per share.