Leisure & Resorts World Corporation (LRWC) (LR.PS), is the latest casualty of Philippine President Rodrigo R. Duterte, as the gaming firm has been ordered by Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) to close 53 of its 137 bingo and electronic games sites run by its subsidiaries across the country.
On Friday, in a disclosure to the Philippine Stock Exchange, LRWC, owned by the family of Negros Occidental Rep. Albee Benitez, said that PAGCOR sent separate notices to its wholly-owned subsidiaries Total Gamezone Xtreme Inc. (TGXI) and AB Leisure Exponent Inc. (ABLE) to cease and desist operation of 36 electronic bingo and 17 electronic game sites. According to the country’s gaming regulator, the affected gaming outlets were operating outside of the distance restriction guidelines defined in the Gaming Site Regulation Manual. Section 2 of Regulation 3 of the government manual states that gaming outlets be at least 200 meters from churches and schools.
LRWC, in a separate disclosure release on Friday told the exchange that with the closures, “Revenues and net income foregone up to the end of 2016 for the affected sites are estimated to be P477 million (US$ 10.1 million) and P56.2 million (US$ 1.19 million), respectively, based on historical first seven months of 2016. According to the gaming firm, related operating assets amount to P190 million (US$4.02 million), and, “These numbers approximate 5 percent of total consolidated 2015 revenues and net income of the LRWC Group,” according to the Manila Standard.
The company said, “LRWC will send a letter of reconsideration to Pagcor. Should reconsideration be not given, we will transfer the electronic games operations at said sites and transfer the same to compliant locations,” as reported by the news agency. LRWC said that it will ask the Philippine gaming regulator to reconsider its decision by Tuesday, September 13.
In keeping with President Duterte’s vow to stop the proliferation of online gambling in the Philippines, just since his swearing in, he has directed Andrea Domingo, PAGCOR’s recently elected CEO, to strictly implement Presidential Decree No. 1067-B, which bans all government officials and members of the Philippine Armed Forces and Philippine National Police, from both playing and staying in casino; revoked 124 online gaming licenses; and on August 9, announced that e-gaming operator PhilWeb’s license would not be renewed, despite the concessions made by the company’s owner, Filipino billionaire businessman Roberto Ongpin, who resigned from the company and sold his majority shares in the firm.
LRWC is engaged in the leisure business, which includes general amusement and recreation, hotel and gaming facilities, and bingo parlors.