PCSO gives chance for illegal operators to go legal

The Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) on Tuesday officially launched its expanded Small Town Lottery (STL) in an effort to stamp out illegal gambling, local media reports.

Plans for the revamped STL were first announced in mid-January, with PCSO chair Jose Jorge Corpuz saying his plan was to give illegal gambling operators a one year window to go mainstream. According to Corpuz at the time, PCSO officials met with many illegal gambling operators, who had vowed to support the STL.

“As we formally launch the expanded small town lottery here in Malacañang, we finally draw the line and declare that it’s time to put a stop to illegal gambling. It is no secret to anyone that illegal gambling has been the scourge of this country for the longest time, spawning corruption in different agencies and levels of government,” said PCSO general manager Alexander Balutan.

Balutan offered a chance for illegal gambling operators to become legal by joining the expanded STL.

“To all illegal gambling operators, we offer you both an invitation and a warning: Go legal. We expect some form of resistance. We expect that the PCSO will be under fire and undermined by those who benefit most from illegal gambling. We are ready,” he said, adding funds generated from the expanded STL will be used to support the administration’s health programs and medical services for the poor and marginalized.

PCSO chairman Jose Jorge Corpuz said there are now 56 corporations authorized to operate the expansion of STL, which would mean an extra P2 billion (US$40.2 million) per month in revenue, or P27.6 billion for the entire year.