EPLDT, the IT subsidiary of telecom giant Philippine Long Distance Telephone Company, announced Wednesday it has invested P502.4 million (US$9.8 million) in publicly-listed firm PhilWeb Corp.

The amount equates to a 20 percent stake at PhilWeb at two centavos per share, PLDT said in a statement. ePLDT is also entitled to three seats in PhilWeb’s 15-man board of directors.

PhilWeb is a niche player in Internet gaming and is licensed by the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR). The company operates more than 200 Internet Sports Betting stations and more than 40 Internet casino stations nationwide.

PhilWeb is expected to boosts PLDT’s gaming content offering in its fixed line and mobile broadband business, the latter through wireless subsidiary Smart Communications.

According to PLDT, PhilWeb’s business relies heavily on the extensive use of the former’s telecommunications networks to sustain its substantial service revenue and profit growths consistent with the anticipated growth of the total gaming industry.

PLDT said PhilWeb completes ePLDT’s strategy to invest in compelling online gaming content, after having made previous investments in online gaming companies Level Up Philippines, Inc. and netGames Inc.

Additionally, ePLDT plans to assist PhilWeb in the nationwide roll out its Internet sports betting stations and Internet casino stations, using principally the telecommunication network resources of the PLDT Group.