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Fueled by telco dreams, PT&T chief aims for jackpot in gaming sector

/ 05:10 AM December 11, 2017

Businessman Salvador Zamora II wants to enter the lucrative gaming sector, focusing on an opportunity coming up in 2018 through the auction of the Visayas and Mindanao lotto equipment leasing concession of the state-run Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO).

Zamora told the Inquirer in a recent interview that his group planned to join the bidding for the contract should an auction push through.

The business has been held by longtime provider Pacific Online Systems Corp., which signed its first equipment lease agreement with PCSO in 1995.

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Since then, the agreement has been amended four times, with the last instance in 2015. Under that agreement, the lease would expire by July 31, 2018.

Zamora said there were huge opportunities in this segment, and that he planned to bid aggressively.

“I will have a partner, everything [lotto outlets] will be new,” Zamora said.

The private sector partner of PCSO earns through so-called rental revenues, based on a percentage of lotto sales or a fixed-rate per lotto terminal, whichever is higher. In 2016, equipment rental revenues amounted to P1.58 billion for Pacific Online, or an increase of over 8 percent.

The move marks a new venture for Zamora, who has invested in mining, renewable energy, railways and more recently, telecommunications.

He said there were complementary businesses between gaming and his telco company, Philippine Telegraph & Telephone Corp. (PT&T), which he acquired with business partner Benjamin Bitanga earlier this year.

PT&T, a relatively small player in the telecommunications space, has recently lured scrutiny, given calls by President Duterte for new players to enter and compete with incumbents PLDT Inc. and Globe Telecom.

Zamora said the firm would be bringing in a strategic partner, most likely a Chinese company given the “sheer number of the Chinese who are interested to partner with us.”

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PT&T is in talks with telcos like China Telecom, that country’s third-largest player, and even from other jurisdictions. He said they were also in talks with LG Plus, part of the South Korean conglomerate LG Corp.

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TAGS: Business, lotto, Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO), Salvador Zamora II
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