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Shares in Online Bingo Company Plummet With Crackdown on Web Gambling

Written by:
Guest
Published on:
Aug/19/2016

  • Gambling tycoon announced his intention to sell stake in gambling firm last week due to President’s crackdown
  • "Online gambling must stop. It has sprouted here and there,” President declares
  • Bingo firm sees plunge of 21 percent in shares, the most in eight years
  • Markets by their nature do not like disruptions, one of the largest bank lenders said of the industry crackdown

Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte’s “War on Internet gambling” has resulted in the departure of former PhilWeb Corp. Chairman Roberto Ongpin, who announced last week his intentions to sell shares his stake in the electronic gambling company and its workers.

Some 287 e-Games parlors in the Philippines run by 137 operators were ordered to shut down nearly within hours of Duterte assuming power.  The incoming President declared an end to oligarchs and the vice industries that help prop them up, Web gambling among them.

"Online gambling must stop. It has sprouted here and there,” Duterte declared before obliterating PhilWeb’s nearly 13- year monopoly on the industry.  “This is out of control."

“I was hit by a lightning,” the 79-year-old Ongpin said prior to an emergency shareholders meeting last week in reference to Duterte’s industry initiative. “I will auction my shares to the highest bidder.”

The gambling tycoon owns 53.78 percent of the Manila-based firm.

This week, online bingo firm Leisure & Resorts World Corp saw its shares plunge 21 percent, the most in almost eight years.  The Philippines gaming regulator has declared it will not issue new gaming permits or renew expiring licenses.

Bloomberg News noted that online bingo is the most popular form of electronic gambling in the Philippines, making up three-quarters of Internet gaming revenue in the first half,

“One can take these changes as the government overhauling and realigning the industry into something that is more controlled and regulated by weeding out the small gaming companies,” said Jonathan Ravelas, chief market strategist at Manila-based BDO Unibank Inc., the nation’s biggest lender. “But over the short term, these changes will be taken negatively as markets by nature don’t like disruptions.”

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