Pagcor rejects Ongpin’s offer to donate stake
MANILA — The Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. closed the door, on businessman Roberto Ongpin, on Thursday, saying it had rejected his offer to donate the bulk of his stake in online gaming firm Philweb Corp. to state casino regulator.
In a text message to the Philippine Daily Inquirer, Pagcor chair Andrea Domingo confirmed that her office had rejected Ongpin’s offer to donate his 49 percent stake in the firm to the government after Pagcor declined to renew its license, necessary for it to continue operating.
“We will not accept the offer,” she said.
The Pagcor chief explained that the issue at hand was not Ongpin’s ownership of Philweb, per se, but President Duterte’s firm stand against the social ills brought about by online gambling.
Last Wednesday, the embattled Ongpin offered to donate his 49-percent stake in Philweb Corp.—a block currently valued by the market at around P5.3 billion—to Pagcor as a last-ditch attempt to save the jobs of thousands of people dependent on the nationwide e-Games network.
Philweb’s intellectual property licensing and management agreement (IPLMA) contract expired last Aug. 10 and was no longer renewed by Pagcor.
The donation to Pagcor was cited as “a final attempt to save the jobs of about 700 Philweb employees, plus about 5,000 others who are employed by the Pagcor operators in 286 e-Games sites.”
Philweb has been doing business with Pagcor for the last 14 years, contributing to government coffers an average of P6 million a day. Last year, Philweb remitted a total of P2.1 billion to Pagcor.
Ongpin also pointed out that average spending of each e-Games player was about P5,000 per day. “Surely one can understand that anyone who can afford to spend P5,000 a visit to e-Games casinos cannot be classified as poor or indigent,” he said. SFM
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