MANILA, Philippines - At least 71 gaming firms have applied to operate the Pambansang Loterya ng Bayan (PLB) in Calabarzon and the Bicol region.
Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) general manager Jose Ferdinand Rojas II said the PCSO is still deliberating on whether to set up PLBs per province or per district. The PLB is expected to start operation in June.
Rojas said the PCSO will also launch new games that will counter masiao, last two and other illegal numbers games.
PCSO records showed that 13 of the gaming corporations are in Laguna, 11 in Batangas, eight in Albay, seven each in Quezon, Oriental Mindoro and Cavite, six in Camarines Norte, four each in Occidental Mindoro and Rizal, three in Camarines Sur, two in Sorsogon and one in Marinduque.
The 71 are among the 189 gaming firms that have submitted complete documents.
The PCSO assured the public they will conduct a tight screening of applicants to ensure that legitimate gaming corporations and not fronts of big-time gambling operators will get the authority to operate the PLB.
Rojas said applications to operate the PLB were also filed in Pangasinan, Bulacan, Zambales, Isabela, Nueva Ecija, Nueva Vizcaya, Pampanga, La Union, Ilocos Sur, Abra, Quirino and Cagayan. There were at least seven applications in Pangasinan.
Gaming firms also applied for PLB in the cities of Makati, Marikina, Pasay, Quezon and Taguig.
In the Visayas and Mindanao, Negros Occidental has the most number of applicants, including the cities of San Carlos, Silayan and Sipalay. Applications were also filed for Calape in Bohol, Cebu City and Lapu-Lapu City in Cebu, Southern Leyte, Iloilo and Zamboanga City.
PCSO is launching the new numbers game to replace the small town lottery, which has become a front for jueteng. The new game is expected to generate at least P10 billion in annual revenues.