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Philippines suspends online gaming licensing as president orders clampdown

A presidential statement calling for a clampdown on online gambling in the Philippines has led to a suspension of licensing and caused a major slump in the share value of local gaming companies.

It follows a speech last week by newly elected president Rodrigo Duterte, shortly after his inauguration, in which he vowed to stamp out online gambling in the country.

In response, the state-controlled Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (Pagcor) said that it would immediately cease processing online gaming licence applications while it considers the president's request.

Pagcor generated close to PHP11.08bn (€211m) in income from gaming operations in the first quarter of 2016, the latest period for which figures are available. It contributed PHP7.14bn of this amount to the country's Nation Building programme.

Philweb, which operates a network of online cafés, sports betting kiosks and mobile games in the Philippines, saw its share price slump by more than 20 per cent to PHP19.00 per share Friday in response to the news, having set a new 52-week low of PHP16.40 per share earlier in the day.

On Monday the company requested that trading in its shares be suspended until July 6th, "in view of unverified material information affecting the business of PhilWeb Corporation that will materially affect the investing public".

Meanwhile Leisure and Resorts World Corp (LRWC), which owns First Cagayan Leisure and Resort Corporation (FCLRC), saw its shares drop by almost 15 per cent since Thursday, setting a new 52-week low of PHP6.56 per share at the close of trading Monday.

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