Pacific Online 'not yet affected' by PCSO-PGMC dispute

Pacific Online's rival, PGMC, and the PCSO are fighting over which company has the right to operate and lease online lottery machines in Luzon

Aya Lowe
Updated 11:12 AM, Apr 23, 2013

DISPUTE. PCSO and lottery equipment provider PGMC are in a dispute as the latter claims exclusive rights to lease lottery equipment in Luzon. AFP PhotoDISPUTE. PCSO and lottery equipment provider PGMC are in a dispute as the latter claims exclusive rights to lease lottery equipment in Luzon. AFP Photo

MANILA, Philippines – Pacific Online Systems Corp. is not yet affected by the dispute between Philippine Gaming and Management Corp. (PGMC) and the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) over which company has the right to operate and lease online lottery machines in Luzon.

PGMC, the local gaming unit of Malaysian conglomerate Berjaya Bhd, is questioning the state-run agency’s decision during the past months favoring Pacific Online, which is partly-owned by Henry Sy-led Belle Corp.

“The dispute that’s happening right now is more directly with PGMC and the PCSO. Pacific Online is only indirectly hit. The issue involves PGMC's exclusivity in the Luzon market, which the PCSO is attesting,” said Manuel Gana, executive vice president and CFO of Belle, on the sidelines of the company's stockholders' meeting on Monday, April 22.

“The effect on Pacific Online would be, if PGMC was successful, then we will be withheld from expanding into the Luzon market. Historically, Pacific Online's market is Visayas and Mindanao, and only one-third of Luzon,” he added.

PGMC claims it has contractual exclusivity over Luzon. However, PCSO allowed Pacific Online to install around 700 lottery machines in different parts of the region between July 2012 and January 2013.

Aside from this, PGMC is also contesting PCSO's decision to extend Pacific Online's contract in Visayas and Mindanao for another 2 years after expiring in March 2013. PGMC said the contract should have been subjected to public bidding.

Pacific Online, which is 35% owned by Belle, recorded a net income of P404 million in 2012 compared to P392 million in 2011. - Rappler.com

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