Pagcor: Philweb allegation of regulatory bias absurd
Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (Pagcor) has denied accusations of bias leveled by Philweb Corp., which recently asked the courts to stop the country’s gambling regulator from requiring it to hire the services of a third party operations auditor—a policy allegedly not required of the firm’s only competitor.
In a statement, Pagcor said the allegations of Philweb were “absurd and nothing more than a mere figment of Mr. Araneta’s imagination.” Philweb, owned by businessman Gregorio Araneta III, said the bidding for the Electronic Gaming Management System (EGMS) was skewed in favor of Inter-Active Entertainment Solutions Technologies Incorporated (IEST).
IEST and Philweb Corp. are the two firms accredited by Pagcor to provide systems for online gaming, e-games and sports betting operations in the country.
EGMS is the independent electronic audit platform being procured by Pagcor to monitor in real time the operations of its online gaming licensees. This is in compliance with the conditions set by President Duterte for the reopening of online gaming operations to ensure that proper taxes are collected from gaming firms.
“However, because IEST has an existing and valid contract, the licensees operating in relation to Pagcor’s Intellectual Property Licensing & Management Agreement (IPLMA) with IEST cannot immediately be covered by the EGMS, instead they are monitored under the existing procedures,” the regulator said. “At any rate, once the IPLMA of IEST expires, these licensees will be covered by the EGMS as well.”
“In the meantime we must ‘grandfather’ these operations under the IPLMA,” Pagcor explained. “[We] cannot unilaterally change a live contract, we learned that from our previous court cases with our licensees Fontana, Thunderbird and Eastbay.”
“In the case of Philweb, their IPLMA expired in July 2016 and was no longer renewed since it was no longer legally justifiable to do so,” Pagcor added.
Last week, Philweb filed in the court a petition for injunction against Pagcor’s new EGMS rule, which the firm said discriminated against it as it would not be imposed on other competitors.
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