PhilWeb plans to revive mobile lotto gaming
MANILA, Philippines – PhilWeb Corporation plans to revive its text-based lotto gaming project, after government-owned and -controlled Philippine Amusement & Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) firmed up its position not to renew PhilWeb's online gaming license.
The embattled listed gaming firm said its proposed mobile lottery could potentially raise between P50 billion and P100 billion in annual revenues for the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte.
PhilWeb president Dennis Valdes said in a new letter to PAGCOR chief Andrea Domingo that their proposed PAGCOR Text Bonanza will have nothing to do with online gaming. (READ: PhilWeb to close e-Games outlets despite Ongpin resignation)
Valdes told Domingo that this business venture will enable PhilWeb to maintain its existence even after its license was not renewed.
"We estimate that the potential revenues from PAGCOR Text Bonanza could easily hit P50 to P100 billion a year," Valdes said.
On the sidelines of a Senate hearing in Pasay City, Domingo said she has yet to review the proposal. (READ: Ongpin to sell his entire 53.76% stake in PhilWeb)
"We will still have to see it. I haven't seen it yet. We will look into it and review," Domingo told reporters.
PAGCOR Text Bonanza is based on proprietary software developed by PhilWeb.
To join, mobile phone users will have to send a text message to PhilWeb or PAGCOR servers, giving a chosen lottery number.
PhilWeb said a confirmatory message will then be sent to the mobile phone users, which will effectively become the ticket.
The current lottery system in the country is operated by the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO), which sells printed tickets in some 4,000 outlets nationwide.
Valdes said it may be inconvenient for bettors to physically line up at a Lotto outlet to buy their tickets.
"During times when the lottery jackpot is large, these lines can extend up to a kilometer long and bettors have to queue for up to one hour under the sun or the rain in order to buy their tickets," Valdes said.
"With over 100 million cellphones and 1.5 billion texts per day, it is not difficult to see the advantage of PAGCOR Text Bonanza over PCSO's Lotto system," he added.
This move will also enable 10 million overseas Filipinos to participate in the lottery, PhilWeb said.
Throwback to 2010?
Valdes said the proposal was submitted to PAGCOR some 5 years ago but was never acted upon.
PLDT, which owned 27% of PhilWeb at that time, agreed to 70-30 revenue sharing.
"Despite the fact that PLDT has now divested from its ownership in PhilWeb, as part of the divestment negotiations, it had agreed to continue to this sharing formula," Valdes said.
PhilWeb may also include Globe Telecom Incorporated in this venture if it agrees to the same 70-30 revenue sharing formula.
After the announcement, PhilWeb's share price on Wednesday, August 24, closed higher by 17.4% to P5.40 apiece. – Chrisee Dela Paz/Rappler.com