THE Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) reiterated its commitment to responsible gaming to ensure people are protected from the adverse consequences of high-stakes gambling that may lead to addiction.
“Our gaming products are into responsible gaming. It has charity and I think no one will get into a mess because of a P20 bet,” PCSO General Manager Alexander Balutan said.
He was reacting to the call of Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Emeritus Oscar Cruz, an anti-illegal gambling advocate, who renewed his campaign to stop casinos and other forms of gambling.
“PCSO is different from the usual casino operation where profit is the main driver. From the beginning, our purpose of being is to do charity work. We used to do it through our different game products, like Lotto, KENO, Sweepstakes and Small Town Lottery (STL). Our objective is to help Filipinos,” Balutan said.
“We are always into responsible gaming. In every P20 worth of lotto ticket, P6 goes to charitable services of the agency,” he added.
He said Filipinos, particularly those in the countryside, have always been into gaming and will likely continue to play games like “jueteng” or “masiao” even if the PCSO stops all its gaming operations.
“Illegal gambling lords will continue to operate in connivance with their protectors. They do not pay taxes. They underpay their employees. They contribute nothing to national development. If we stop PCSO gaming operations, illegal gambling lords will return with a vengeance,” Balutan said.
“If we decide to stop gaming, we should first target illegal gambling which profits no one.
Balutan also warned illegal gambling operators, particularly those who are using STL as a front of their illegal activity, to stop their illicit activities.
He again appealed to the Philippine National Police and other law enforcement agencies to intensify their campaign against illegal gambling.
From January to April, the PCSO generated more than P16 billion from its different game products, 32.29 percent higher than its income for the same period last year. The revenues helped 117,954 beneficiaries under the Individual Medical Assistance Program of the agency.
“The improved sales of the expanded STL resulted to the generation of more than P3.88 billion, an increase of 135.26 percent compared with the same period last year,” Balutan said. NEIL A. ALCOBER