Firm told to cease numbers game

Philippines-based Meridien Vista Gaming Corp. (MVGC) has been asked to immediately stop its numbers game operations, as it is only authorized to operate within areas covered by the Cagayan Economic Zone Authority (CEZA).

The crackdown comes as part of the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) latest campaign to tackle the growing illegal numbers game operations which have been siphoning revenue away from the government-sanctioned Small Town Lottery (STL).

“Its (MVGC) franchise is effective only in areas of Ceza,” said Alexander Balutan, PCSO general manager, in an interview with the Inquirer.

MCGC was initially authorized by CEZA to operate jai alai and its subsidiary games, but the games later evolved into a “virtual two” lottery game, said PCSO.

The latest move against MVGC came after a spokesperson for the Albay provincial police claimed that the firm had secured a permit from the local government in 2008 to operate the numbers game.

“STL is the only legal numbers game in the country,” Balutan said.

“There are only two institutions authorized by the law to operate gaming or play lotteries: PCSO and the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp.,” he added.