Step up drive vs illegal gambling – PCSO

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The Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) called on the police to intensify its crackdown on illegal gambling as it denounced the continuous operation of gambling lords.

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PCSO General Manager Alexander Balutan said government efforts to eradicate illegal gambling will come to naught if the Philippine National Police (PNP) will not face the problem head on.

The PCSO expanded the Small Town Lottery (STL) operation to help fight different illegal numbers game like jueteng, swertres and masiao but illegal gambling operators had used legitimate PCSO games as front for their illicit activities.

“We are aware that STL is being used and abused by some illegal gambling operators to legitimize their business, that is why we are urging the PNP to do their job and go after these gambling lords who are using PCSO products as cover for their illegal operations,” Balutan said in a statement.

He urged the police to carry out operations against illegal gambling syndicates instead of raiding government-authorized STL operators.

Balutan issued the statement after Misamis Occidental Rep. Henry Oaminal complained during a congressional hearing on Wednesday about the illegal gambling lords operating in his district.

“We will [again]bring this matter to the PNP chief Ronald de la Rosa and ask them to go after the illegal Swertres operators in Mindanao,” Balutan said.

He urged the PNP and the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) to go after gambling syndicates who are using STL as well as STL collectors moonlighting as illegal bookies.

The PNP had signed an agreement to help the state-run charity institution expand its STL operation by going after illegal gambling syndicates.

Balutan said the PCSO increased the number of accredited STL operators and hiked the share of the PNP from its earnings to encourage them to fight illegal gambling.

“STL operations from different parts of the country helped us big time in the increase of our revenues wherein 30 percent of the revenue are being used for the charitable services of the agency, particularly health,” he added.

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