DFNN Reportedly Obtains First Philippine Online Gambling Licence

DFNN, the Philippine electronic gaming operator, reportedly obtained the first online gambling licence that will allow local residents to legally gamble online at least those with deep pockets.

On Monday, Asia Gaming Brief announced that the first recipient of the latest local-focused online gambling licences granted by the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation was the Philippine-listed DFNN (PAGCOR). Investors liked what they saw, driving the shares of DFNN up by over 41% .

DFNN CEO Calvin Lim restrictions will be in place only allowing VIP players to the new InPlay.ph online casino, at least to begin with, including strict know-your-customer protocols to ensure that locals have the requisite means to enjoy online gambling safely from the comfort of home.

Inplay will be run by the Inter-Active Entertainment Solutions (IEST) subsidiary of DFNN, which has a long history as a land-based electronic gaming technology provider approved by PAGCOR through the brands Instawin (online casino) and Xchangebet (peer-to-peer sports betting). These eGames are provided via computer terminals in a large network of eCafes to local residents.

EGames is a different form of licence from the Philippine Offshore Gaming Operator (POGO) licences of PAGCOR, whose recipients are barred from taking bets from local residents. But with the floundering of the POGO sector under the combination of COVID-19 and government crackdowns, PAGCOR announced in October that it was considering allowing locals to accept online bets from some of its land-based licensees.

PAGCOR was subsequently pressured to allow media reports that some casinos had already obtained permission to take online bets in Manila’s Entertainment City gaming zone. In fact, only one casino has been approved so far, Melco Resorts & Entertainment’s City of Dreams Manila, and its online technology is still undergoing testing.

For its local online casino chance, DFNN has obviously been angling, having issued a public statement last month voicing solidarity with PAGCOR’s efforts to root out illegal POGO rivals. DFNN stressed the need for Filipinos to invest their gaming dollars with licenced operators so that the loss of their once-lucrative POGO revenue can be compensated by PAGCOR.

Speaking of the most recent number of POGOs that have been approved to resume operations by PAGCOR-meaning they have paid their taxes and had their Chinese employees vetted by immigration officials-has risen to 36, three more than the previous September update.

However it is assumed that only a few of these 36 have actually resumed operations, and that still leaves another 19 POGOs who have yet to obtain their approval (assuming they still want it).