IP E-Games eyes casino in Cagayan free port
Listed firm enters new ‘gaming’ sectorBy Paolo G. Montecillo
Philippine Daily Inquirer
Listed video game publisher IP E-Games Ventures Inc. plans to invest in a different kind of “gaming” as it moves to set up casino operations in the Cagayan Special Economic Zone and Freeport.
In a disclosure on Thursday, IP E-Games, which recently spun off the bulk of its video gaming assets to a subsidiary it co-owns with former rival Level Up!, said it would acquire 36,000 square meters of land at the planned casino complex in Cagayan.
“The casino is a state-of-the-art casino offering the full range of gambling offerings including, but not limited to, black jack, baccarat, craps, roulette and slots,” the company told the local bourse.
The company will buy the land for P70 million and will be paid through a combination of cash and shares.
The transaction was done through IP E-Games subsidiary, RAN Online Inc.
IP E-Games said it hopes to ride on the expected growth of the country’s gaming sector, which is seen becoming a major draw for tourists across the region.
“Similar to Singapore’s tourism income, which saw a steep 74-percent increase from $10 billion to $17 billion from 2007 to 2009, the Philippines expects a boost to its tourism income due to gaming and gaming-related projects,” IP E-Games said.
The firm cited companies like Enrique Razon Jr.’s Bloomberry Resorts Corp., one of the four groups allowed to put up casinos at the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (Pagcor) Entertainment City in Pasay.
Casinos, IP E-Games said, “will be key drivers in achieving President Aquino’s vision of bringing in 10 million visitors (to the Philippines) by 2016.”
The Department of Tourism says it is on track to growing tourist arrivals this year by 18 percent to 4.6 million visitors.
“(The company) believes there will be a ‘spillover’ effect of tourists to other key locations in the Philippines such as the Cagayan Ecozone,” the disclosure read.
IP E-Games said it was poised to be one of Cagayan’s major investors.
The company’s shares surged 2.56 percent—outperforming the main index that fell 0.03 percent—following IP E-Games’ announcement.
IP E-Games’ foray outside of its core video game business was approved by shareholders in a symbolic meeting last May. The corporation has a public float of 5.3 percent, which means over 94 percent of its shares are held by its controlling owners.
The expansion into gaming is in line with the IPVG group’s restructuring program in search of more lucrative industries. Earlier, IP E-Games’ affiliate IP Converge was acquired by the 8990 Group, a property firm with big investments in Visayas and Mindanao. Meanwhile, its former parent firm IPVG Corp. recently ventured into mineral refining locally and overseas.
In 2011, IP E-Games acquired several Internet cafe chains in a bid to diversify its revenue stream and complement its video game publishing operations. More than two thirds of all Filipino users still access the web through Internet cafes.
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