MANILA – The Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) on Tuesday launched the expansion of small-town lottery operations in 56 areas, in a bid to increase revenue and curb illegal gambling.
Prior to the expansion, only 18 areas nationwide have a small-town lottery.
Speaking to new operators at EDSA Shangri-La Hotel in Mandaluyong City, PCSO chairman Jose Jorge Corpuz said the expansion of these lottery operations could increase the agency's revenues to more than P27 billion, good news for the various charities it supports.
Small-town lotteries may also benefit local government units and the Philippine National Police, who also receive a share of lottery ticket sales. Corpuz said, this year alone, the police force stands to receive more than P692 million from the expansion of operations.
"We are doing this — the STL expansion, not just for PCSO but also to augment the needs of the government to finance its various health and medical programs of the poor,” Corpuz said, adding that public corporation is looking to increase its reach to 37 more areas in the country.
Another benefit of small-town lottery operations is their capability to deter or outright eliminate illegal gambling, as legitimate operators would want to protect their turf from unauthorized competition.
PCSO general manager Alexander Balutan also issued a stern warning against illegal gambling operators to "go legal or face arrest."
The PCSO initially announced the expansion last week, during a Palace press conference.
Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre, head of the Task Force on Illegal Gambling, has said that President Rodrigo Duterte ordered the small-town lottery shakeup, as he believed that operators were not remitting all required monies to the government.
According to the National Bureau of Investigation, some STL operators may have defrauded the government of at least P50 billion per year by under-declaring sales.