by AB FRANCIA July 29, 2017
LEISURE and Resorts World Corp. (DigiPlus Interactive Corporation) wants to open up to 20 boutique bingo gaming sites this year as the outlook on online gaming operations brightens after a long lull.
The listed retail gaming firm said it is on its way to recovery after a number of its gaming sites were closed last year following Malacañang’s order for casino regulator Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (PAGCOR) to stop issuing online gaming licenses.
“PAGCOR came up with policies such as the distance to schools… it’s a little different from the previous administration. So that resulted in the closure of some of our sites but overtime, we seek clarity,” LRC Chairman and President Reynaldo P. Bantug told reporters after the company’s annual shareholder meeting in Pasay on Friday.
“So slowly we were able to appeal to PAGCOR… they agreed to open some of the sites that were closed. So in a way we’re getting back,” he added.
Mr. Bantug noted that their six sites — still on shutdown — will not significantly affect revenues, with construction of new sites offsetting the drag. The company currently has a total of 186 sites in the country.
“It will not significantly affect the revenue for bingo, although it did a little bit in the first half when there was no clarity on the policies yet, but now slowly we’re recovering,” Mr. Bantug said.
The company has so far built 11 new sites out of the targeted 20 for this year.
“For this year, the target is about 20. So maybe another 10, either by acquisition or new sites,” LRC Head for Investor Relations Alfredo B. Reyes said.
Mr. Bantug added that the company continues to be on the lookout for good sites where they can set up the retail business, particularly in the Visayas-Mindanao region.
“That’s the countryside for instance. There’s still a good market for the retail of electronic bingo as well,” the executive said.
Other than bingo sites, LRC also holds a 69.68% stake in First Cagayan Leisure & Resort Corp. (FLRC), which the Cagayan Economic Zone Authority (CEZA) has allowed to develop, operate and conduct Internet and gaming enterprises and facilities in the Cagayan Economic Zone Free Port.
Shares in LRC gained seven centavos or 1.46% to P4.85 each on Friday. — A. B. Francia