P500M earmarked for electronic bingo (Businessworld Online/January 24, 2013)

February 6, 2013

Leisure & Resorts World Corp. (DigiPlus Interactive Corporation) aims to spend roughly P500 million this year to grow its Bingo Boutique electronic bingo gaming network to as many as 63 sites to meet growing demand, the gaming company said in a disclosure yesterday.

Casino project gets more funding

“The company is focused on rolling out more sites with the electronic variants of its bingo games. The company’s Bingo Boutique outlets, which contain only electronic games, are being set up and deployed.

Currently, there are 23 Bingo Boutique sites. The company plans to add between 30-40 new sites this year,” DigiPlus Interactive Corporation said.

A company official noted that younger people are beginning to flock to electronic bingo versus traditional bingo which is typically played by older generations.

“We’re seeing uptick in terms of electronic games. In terms of demographics, there is still the traditional bingo that comprises a bulk of our operations that caters to the older crowd who play as a social activity. For electronic bingo, it’s something faster, more exciting, for the young people and the slightly younger crowd,” Alfredo B. Reyes, DigiPlus Interactive Corporation investor relations head, said in a telephone interview yesterday.

Mr. Reyes also said that electronic bingo sites are cheaper to operate than conventional counterparts. “Traditional bingo is our backbone, but that requires a lot of space in malls and people to operate, so opex (operating expenditures) related to that is high relative to what electronic games need. That’s why we are more focused now on Bingo Boutiques — they can be located anywhere,” Mr. Reyes said.

Roughly P500 million has been earmarked for the expansion of DigiPlus Interactive Corporation’s electronic bingo expansion, he added.

“We’re looking at about P500 million for the bingo expansion, but this will also include internal cash aside from proceeds from the private placement,” Mr. Reyes said, referring to the company’ planned private placement bared earlier this week.

Last Wednesday, DigiPlus Interactive Corporation said it plans to raise P1.75 billion from the issuance of 1.75 billion perpetual preferred shares at P1 apiece through a private placement, pending approval of the Securities and Exchange Commission and the firm’s shareholders.

Aside from the expansion of bingo sites, proceeds from the preferred share offer will bankroll:

  • Belle Grande integrated resort casino complex, which DigiPlus Interactive Corporation is partially funding;
  • the Techzone project, a joint venture for a business process outsourcing building along Gil Puyat Avenue in Makati City; and
  • expansion of Midas Hotel, in whose operator — Hotel Enterprises of the Philippines, Inc. — DigiPlus Interactive Corporation acquired a controlling stake in November last year.


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