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Philippine regulator freezes issuing of online gaming licenses

By Tom Lewis
The Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (Pagcor), the Philippine gaming regulator, is temporarily halting the processing and issuance of all online gambling license applications.

The move follows comments made last week by the new President of the Philippines, Rodrigo Duterte, who pledged to crackdown on online gambling in his first cabinet meeting.

President Duterte added that he would be directing Andrea Domingo, Chairwoman of Pagcor, to begin rescinding licenses issued for online gambling.

In an interview with local media, Domingo said: “For now, we will freeze the issuance of licenses for these types of games, and then review what the President said.”

The number of gaming machines present in the country rose significantly during the six year tenure of previous President Benigno Aquino.

According to government data, the 2160 e-bingo machines present in June 2010 have risen in number to 12,000.

The shares of Philippine operator Philweb Corporation took an immediate hit, contracting 32% to their lowest point in 14 months, while Leisure and Resorts World Corporation saw its shares fall in value by 8.9% in the wake of Duterte’s comments, according to the Manila Bulletin.

The PhilWeb Corporation voluntarily suspended the trading of its shares on the Philippine Stock Exchange from Sunday to Wednesday inclusive.

Raymund S. Aquino, Corporate Information Officer for Philweb, said to the Philippine Stock Exchange: “In view of unverified material information affecting the business of Philweb that will materially affect the investing public, we hereby request for a trading suspension in Philweb shares.”

Philweb’s current contract with Pagcor is reportedly set to expire on 11 July 2016.

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