Philweb is looking to acquire 15 e-Games cafes from national regulator-cum-operator the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp (Pagcor) by tendering 7.5 million shares to purchase the properties.
In a filing with the Philippines Stock Exchange this March, PhilWeb stated that its board had decided to proceed with the deal despite the failure of talks with Pagcor to revive its licence to operate its 286 e-Games cafes after it expired last August.
Explaining the rationale behind the purchase, PhilWeb president Dennis Valdes stated: “We continue to be bullish that we will be able to renew our licence with Pagcor at some time in the near future.
“We also wish to support those operators that we have worked with over the past 14 years. Some currently wish to exit the business so we are offering them an ability to exit by selling us their businesses in exchange for WEB shares,” he added.
PhilWeb previously provided the software and technical facilities for the entire Pagcor e-Games network until last August when, acting to placate Philippine president Rodrigo Duterte, the regulator ended the contract with a one-month extension.
Many of the sites offered betting stations and all offered server-based gambling games including slots from a Singaporebased division of Realtime Gaming (RTG) in that launched in 2006.
“Pagcor e-Games is not online gaming,” Valdes stated. “It is a private, members-only network of clubs where players need to be physically present in order to play.”
“Access to these clubs is strictly controlled such that it is only open to members who are over 21 years old and are financially capable of gaming.”
During its heyday, PhilWeb remitted more than P14bn ($278m) to Pagcor, which the state regulator uses to fund government projects.