Swedish online gambling software provider Kambi is being probed by Philippine police for illegal gambling activities, it emerged this week.
Kambi said that it was served with a notice that the Philippine National Bureau of Investigation is investigating the allegations and in the company’s office in Manila operations have been suspended.
Last year, William Hill found its operations in the Philippines placed under similar scrutiny, although normal service has since been resumed.
While the Philippines permits foreign online gambling companies to be based and licensed in the country, and offers competitive tax rates, such companies are prohibited from offering bets to its citizens and from running books on Philippine sporting events.
Kambi spokesperson Anna-Lena Astrom said that, while offices in Manila are closed, the company’s operations are running as normal, with its London and Maltese headquarters covering the situation.
Kambi “Fully Compliant”
“Manila is prone to typhoons, so you have to be prepared,” she said. “We are very confident we are fully compliant with all the local laws. We are not an operator; we are only B2B, so we don’t have customer data … We are very keen on following all the rules; that’s why we don’t operate in unregulated markets.”
However, despite this, shares in Kambi, which is listed on the Stockholm stock exchange, fell 6 percent following the news, but recovered by the end of trading.
Kambi recently recorded profit Q4 of €600,000, compared with a €300,000 loss for the same period in 2014. The company began life as part of Unibet’s sportsbook operations, before breaking away as a separate entity.
It provides sports betting services to companies such as 888 Holdings, Paf, 32Red and Napoleon Games.
“With regards to these allegations, Kambi is confident that there are no activities occurring in its Philippines operation which are contrary to law.
In the Philippines, Kambi is a member of the Government-run PEZA scheme (Philippine Economic Zone Authority), which incentivizes businesses, on a fully transparent basis, to establish and run operations in the Philippines.”
“Kambi complies with local laws and applies consistent global policies for its Group operations to abide by.
Kambi has immediately implemented business continuity measures in accordance with its internal group policies to ensure cover for the services provided by its Manila operation. Kambi will update the market as necessary regarding the investigation.”
Most of the gambling in the Philippines is controlled by the government-backed Philippine Amusement and Gambling Corporation, which is the biggest contributor of revenues to the government after the Tax and Customs Authority.
However, the market is becoming of increasing interest to foreign casino operators, such as Melco Crown which last year opened the City of Dreams resort in Manila.
Genting opened the country’s first integrated resort, Resorts World Manila, the previous year.