THE Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) has vowed to help stamp out illegal numbers games in the country through the “new and improved” small town lottery (STL).
PCSO Chairman Jose Jorge Corpuz said the agency will expand STL operations to 64 areas nationwide from 18, generating more than P18 billion in annual revenues for the government.
The PCSO introduced the STL to combat jueteng and other an illegal numbers games in 2006.
But instead of effectively curbing jueteng, the STL became a legal front for illegal gambling operations, the reason other localities had refused to allow STL operations.
Based on the report of the government-run charity institution, STL generated revenues of P4.7 billion in 2014, P4.794 billion in 2015 and P1.231 billion in the first quarter of 2016.
Corpuz said the PCSO will give illegal gambling operators a chance to go mainstream by being partners of the PCSO in STL, ahead of the government’s campaign against illegal gambling which is expected to begin next year.
By next year, all non-STL numbers games will be considered illegal and their operators will have to face the police’s “all-out war” against illegal gambling, he said.
Corpuz, who took over the agency last September, said PCSO officials had met with illegal gambling operators, who vowed to support the STL.
Corpuz said a total of 224 STL applicants, including gambling operator Charlie “Atong” Ang, were undergoing strict evaluation by the PCSO.
The new system will legalize the existing illegal numbers game in every region, like jueteng in Luzon and masiao and swertres in the Visayas and Mindanao.
All STL applicants must be 100-percent Filipino-owned corporations or cooperatives whose primary purpose is to operate STL games and have the necessary personnel to carry out the operation.
They must also have authorized capital stock of P50 million, with a minimum paid-up capital of P15 million.
The PCSO board set a presumptive monthly retail receipt (PMRR) that STL operators or authorized agent corporations (ACC) must remit.
Corpuz said the new PMRR or quota had been in effect when he took over the PCSO last September. This covered the 18 STL operators and resulted in an increase in revenue in October.
He cited as example the province of Laguna that remitted P43.2 million to PCSO in September and P113 million in October.
“This is just one of the 18 operators of STL, just think how much we could get if we have 64 operators nationwide,” he added.
Corpuz said that he expected the new STL to get support from local government units because of the additional revenue they stood to get from the new numbers game.
Under the new STL, cities and municipalities will get three percent of STL sales; congressional districts, 0.25 percent; provincial governments, 0.75 percent; and the Philippine National Police (PNP), 2.5 percent.
The PNP share is broken down as follows: national headquarters, 0.4 percent; police regional office, 0.4 percent; police provincial office, 0.6 percent; the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) national office, 0.20 percent; the CIDG regional office, 0.20 percent and the CIDG provincial office, 0.10 percent.
To discourage corruption, the new implementing rules of the STL prohibits ACCs from giving, delivering, remitting, granting and contributing money directly or indirectly to any local official, local government, congressman, police or any law enforcement officer.
“If you continue to be in illegal gambling despite the warning of the President to stop it, you will be in a very serious trouble… Just look at the government’s campaign against illegal drugs,” he added.
The PCSO plans to launch the new STL nationwide next month and implement it next year.