PhilWeb president thinks brick-and-mortar business still has life

philweb-philippines-revenueThe Philippines’ status as an emerging gambling market is unquestioned. But one avenue that has yet to pick up steam is online gambling, and according to PhilWeb Corp. president Dennis Valdes, the country’s current infrastructure still doesn’t have the capability to fully support online gambling.

Speaking with Business World, Valdes commented on the continued importance of the “brick-and-mortar” model of gaming in the Philippines, saying that while there is a future for online gaming, certain restrictions within the country have so far prevented it from taking off.

“We’re not there yet,” Valdes pointed out. “If you are in the e-commerce business, you need to have a combination of brick and mortar and the Internet because I don’t think that the infrastructure in our country is robust enough to be able to fully support a 100-percent mobile business.”

Speaking specifically in the context of online gaming, Valdes pointed to the country’s noticeable lack of available e-wallets and payment processors. But instead of trying to fit a square peg into a round hole, PhilWeb combined the two, setting up brick-and-mortar establishments offering variations of online gambling in “E-Games” boutiques.

That model has proven to be successful for PhilWeb, which now boasts 299 Internet cafes al over the country featuring around 8,000 gaming terminals. Likewise, the company’s contributions to Pagcor are robust enough to make a lot of people happy. Valdes said online gambling revenue from PhilWeb shops reached Php5.5 billion ($12.2 million) last year, of which Php2.1 billion ($4.91 million) was sent Pagcor’s way.