PhilWeb shrugs off entry of high-end casinos

Aya Lowe

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PhilWeb does not see high end casinos are competition

7-11 OF THE GAMING INDUSTRY. PhilWeb does not see Resorts World and Solaire as a threat. Photo by Rappler/AYA LOWE

MANILA, Philippines – As Manila beefs up its gaming artillery with Resorts World and the recent opening of Solaire Manila, Dennis Valdes, president of PhilWeb, a gaming technology provider, said these new players do not pose a threat to the growth of their business.

While the local gaming industry is becoming increasingly crowded, Valdes said these new venues have not being taking away market share or revenue because they appeal to very different demographic. 

“Resorts World, Solaire, etcetera are in a very small section of an entire country, while e-Games are on every island,” Valdes said. eGames refer to an Internet outlet dedicated to casino games. “Many of these e-Games live only a km or two away from the houses.”

“The land-based casino gamer are the whales, the guys who are coming in with a lot of money. Those guys will never play in any e-Games,” he added.

According to Valdes, PhilWeb has on average 50,000 people a day walking in their shops spending between P2,000 to P4,000. “It’s not huge, but because it’s very affordable, it just becomes part of a persons’ entertainment budget. It’s the same amount of money they would spend if they had a very nice dinner in a restaurant,” said Valdes.

Philweb targets 25 to 45 year olds, with males accounting for 60%.

Gaming, entertainment

Valdes said their locations across Mindanao are doing surprisingly well, particularly in cities such as General Santos and Cagayan de Oro.

“The pockets of growth in Mindanao are outstanding particularly in General Santos. What you have is a huge economy built around a predominantly tuna town, so you have people who work very hard. They’re done with everything they need to do by 5 pm to 6 pm. How much night life do they have in General Santos? At some point people will look for some point of entertainment,” said Valdes.

A thriving e-Games business is one of the reasons behind PhilWeb’s 27% increase in revenues to P1.5 billion in 2012, the company said during the stockholders meeting on Tuesday, April 2. The year 2012 was also the first time company made more than a billion pesos in net income with a total of P1.1 billion. This was a 20% increase from 2011.

“As a result of our continuous improvements to the e-Games network, total Gross Best in 2012 surged to a record P125 billion 16% greater than the previous year. We now have an average of 50,000 players per day across our network of 6,754 gaming terminals one of the largest linked network of the gaming terminals in the world,” said the statement to the stockholders.

PhilWeb now has a total of 277 e-Game cafes with the 50 approved by Pagcor in 2012, matching the previous high achieved in 2009. The e-Games division has beefed up its support to the 115 independent operators that run cafes.

Almost all e-Games operators are in the process of reinveting in their cafes, expanding and refurbishing them to offer players a better gaming experience.

Each of these computers delivers an average Daily Terminal win of P2,202. In total, the network delivered a casino win of P4.7 billion.

The company has also recently been expanding its reach out to nearby Asian markets such as Timor Leste, Cambodia and Guam under PhilWeb Asia Pacific (PWAP). –

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