OPERATORS of the small town lottery (STL) game of the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) only have one month to operate, as all contracts issued by the charity institution will expire on June 30.
This means that unscrupulous STL operators who have reportedly been using the legal game as front for jueteng will not able to exploit the lottery game in their operations anymore.
STL was introduced by the PCSO during the administration of former president Corazon Aquino in a bid to fight “jueteng”. It ran from 1987 to 1990 but failed to serve its purpose.
In 2006, the PCSO re-introduced the STL, which still exists at present despite calls of some sectors including Congress to suspend the lottery operation.
PCSO General manager Jose Ferdinand Rojas 2nd earlier explained that PCSO cannot just suspend the STL because operators are holding valid contracts until June 30.
The PCSO also needs to consider the thousands of legitimate STL workers that would be affected if the agency agreed to suspend its operations.
There are currently 14 provinces that still operate STL and according Rojas income generated by the STL amounted to more than P4 billion in 2012.
With the STL contract ending next month, the PCSO is also set to introduce its new game called the PCSO Loterya ng Bayan (PLB), and like the STL, the new game is also designed to wean people away from jueteng and other forms of illegal numbers game.
Rojas said that the PCSO wants the PLB operations nationwide to effectively combat illegal gambling and help raise additional income for the government and charity works.
PCSO officials said that the agency is observing stricter screening process to prevent gambling lords from using the game for their illegal operations.
Interested operators must have a minimum authorized capital stock of P50 million with a minimum paid up capital of P10 million.
Applicants must also have a principal office located within the province, highly urbanized or chartered city wherein it currently conducts business, which must be 100-percent Filipino owned.
To lure jueteng bet collectors to leave their old ways and support the PLB, PCSO will also require PLB employees be entitled to health benefits and fixed salaries as well as uniforms and identification cards.
At present, the PLB internal rules and regulation is currently undergoing review by the Office of the President and if everything goes well the new game will be launched before the end of the year.