PhilWeb wins PAGCOR okay but must undergo third-party audit


philweb-pagcor-egames-accreditationPhilippine gaming regulators have confirmed the re-accreditation of electronic games provider PhilWeb Corp, but the company’s rebirth will have to wait a while longer yet.

On Monday, PhilWeb informed the Philippine Stock Exchange that it had received a Certificate of Accreditation from the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) as an Electronic Gaming System Service Provider of PAGCOR-licensed gaming sites for electronic games.

PhilWeb was a major player in the Philippines land-based eGames market until last year, when former chairman Roberto Ongpin earned the ire of Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte. PAGCOR subsequently declined to renew PhilWeb’s license and it was forced to wind up its operations.

In the hopes of salvaging the business, Ongpin sold his majority stake in PhilWeb to Gregorio Araneta III at P2.60 per share, barely 10% of their pre-crisis peak. The company then began the painful process of rebuilding its decimated business, including purchasing some PAGCOR eGames sites.

In June, PAGCOR suggested PhilWeb might be revived, if it agreed to streamline its business activities. In August, PhilWeb was issued a provisional Certificate of Accreditation, leading company president Dennis Valdes to herald a “fresh start” and to predict a 2018 comeback was in the offing. The company even decided to go with a new logo to further emphasize its new beginning.

Investors celebrated Thursday’s news, pushing the stock up over 14% to P8.99, representing a 246% rise on the price Araneta paid just one year ago, but still well off the stock’s P24.4 peak.

PAGCOR quickly issued a statement Thursday to state that the “accreditation alone does not grant PhilWeb the permission to resume its operations until PAGCOR has procured the third party audit service provider for electronic games.” PAGCOR offered no timeline on when this audit service provider would be selected.

And PhilWeb has a tough competitive slog ahead of it, as the eGames operators to whom the company used to provide services are now using other electronic game providers. Still, given all that’s transpired over the past year, PhilWeb will welcome the opportunity to get back in the trenches.