216 Philweb employees on ‘forced leave’
Gaming technology firm Philweb Corp. has put on “forced leave” for a month 216 of its 700 employees while it attempts to renew its license to serve the e-Games network of the country’s gaming regulator.
In a disclosure to the Philippine Stock Exchange Thursday, Philweb said the forced leave started on Sept. 1. The status will remain while the company is in discussion with Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. on the renewal of Philweb’s Intellectual Property Licensing and Management Agreement (IPLMA) over Pagcor’s e-Games cafes.
Philweb’s IPLMA with Pagcor expired on Aug. 10. It is uncertain whether the license would be extended given President Duterte’s flip-flopping stance on online gaming.
Philweb provided service to Pagcor’s e-Games stations or internet cafes which were exclusively dedicated to casino games such as baccarat, blackjack, various slot machine games, video poker and others. Most e-Games cafes are open 24/7.
Businessman Roberto Ongpin, the principal stockholder of Philweb who had been targeted by Duterte as an “oligarch who must be brought down,” earlier offered to donate his 49-percent stake in Philweb to Pagcor to complement the government’s anti-drug abuse program.
Some 6,000 individuals and their families were estimated to rely on the network of 286 e-Games outlets across the country.
As a consequence, operators of e-Games cafes who had invested about P1.8 billion in building the network are at risk of losing their investment.
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