LRWC bets on online bingo to reverse pandemic-related losses

Publicly traded gaming company Leisure and Resorts World Corp. (LRWC) hopes to recover from its recent losses to reach pre-pandemic revenues by 2023 or the end of this year, helped by the explosive growth of its new online bingo business.

The online betting platform, called Bingo Plus, allows users to place bets as low as P5 to win jackpots worth millions of pesos.

Through its subsidiary AB Leisure Exponent Inc., LRWC is the only group in the country to be licensed by Philippine state-owned Amusement and Gaming Corp. to operate “traditional online bingo“.

Tsui Kin Ming, chairman of LRWC, a company owned by ports and education magnate Eusebio “Yosi” Tanco and businessman and Bacolod mayor-elect Alfredo “Albee” Benitez, said bingo in line could be a major future source of income.

“We expect revenues to return to near pre-pandemic levels, perhaps early next year or late this year,” Tsui said in an interview at a media event on Friday. .

LRWC’s revenue at the parent company level reached P610 million in 2019.

It recorded no revenue in 2020 as its business suffered from severe restrictions amid COVID-19 lockdowns. LRWC lost around 410 million pesos that year, wiping out profits of 97.52 million pesos in 2019.

Jasper Vicencio, chairman of AB Leisure, said they plan to expand online bingo quickly as activity at its bingo halls has yet to fully recover.

From a few thousand online bingo players when the company launched in January this year, the platform now handles more than 40,000 players a day, according to Vicencio.

“Because it’s electronic, a lot of players play too. So you can win a game in about five minutes. It’s very fast. We have 200 games a day,” he said at the same event.

LRWC said in its financial report covering the first quarter of 2022 that online bingo revenue grew from 3.8 million pesos in January to 30.65 million pesos in March, a growth of more than 700% in three months.

In a report attached to the LRWC’s 2021 annual report, independent auditor SyCip Gorres Velayo & Co. pointed to the company’s losses and negative operating cash flow.

Last March, LRWC announced it would raise 2.1 billion pesos through the direct sale of 1.27 billion new shares at 1.65 pesos each to seven companies, including companies controlled by Tanco and Benitez. Companies have until August 9 of this year to pay for the shares. INQ

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