The government hopes to finally stamp out illegal gambling with the launch on Tuesday of the expanded Small Town Lottery (STL) by the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO).
“As we formally launch the expanded small town lottery here in Malacañang, we finally draw the line and declare that it’s time to put a stop to illegal gambling. It is no secret to anyone that illegal gambling has been the scourge of this country for the longest time, spawning corruption in different agencies and levels of government,” PCSO General Manager Alexander Balutan said.
“Today, we declare that the small town lottery is the only legal and authorized numbers game nationwide,” he added.
Balutan encouraged illegal gambling operators to make their business legal by joining the expanded STL.
“To all illegal gambling operators, we offer you both an invitation and a warning: Go legal. We expect some form of resistance. We expect that the PCSO will be under fire and undermined by those who benefit most from illegal gambling. We are ready,” he said.
Funds generated from the expanded STL will be used to support the administration’s health programs and medical services for the poor.
“As the principal government agency for raising and providing funds for charity, we at the PCSO are confident that the expanded STL will not only increase needed funds for charity services, or boost revenues for the government, but spearhead a nationwide change that we have all longed for,” Balutan said. “This is not only a campaign against illegal gambling but at the very core, a war to curb and eliminate corruption.”
From the original 18 STL authorized agent corporations, PCSO chairman Jose Jorge Corpuz said there are now 56 corporations authorized to operate the expansion of STL.
With this number, the government expects revenues to reach more than P2 billion a month or P27.6 billion for this year.
From January to September 2016, Corpuz said STL operators collected an average sale of P400 million monthly.
“That’s why we’re asking everyone to support the small town lottery so that we can generate revenue for the charity program of the government. We can increase the support to medical assistance. It will all go back to the program,” he said.
He warned that those who will continue with their illegal gambling operations will be arrested.
“The President is serious to stop illegal gambling and he called on the AFP (Armed Forces of the Philippines) and PNP (Philippine National Police) commanders to stop illegal gambling, when you stop illegal gambling, we’re stopping corruption. That’s the logic there,” Corpuz said.