PCSO to launch mobile betting games soon

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, September 12) — A mobile-based betting application game will be launched soon, the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) said, as it reported multibillion-peso foregone revenues with the proliferation of illegal online games.

"The PCSO is already in the process of digitizing its gaming operations. Since 2004, this has been a wish list of the PCSO to include the mobile betting, but it turned out that we’re having a difficult challenges particularly on the legal aspect,” Arnel Casas, PCSO assistant general manager, said in a hearing on the government corporation's proposed 2024 budget.

“But today we’re glad to say that we’re about to launch the digital gaming operations starting with the mobile based application platform that will be initially utilized for the lotto games, your honor," he added.

PCSO, which conducts lottery draws nationwide, said it has been losing from online games.

“We have a verified report that just for one year of operation of illegal online gaming, they earned P4.7B. Walang payment po ito ng taxes, walang price payment sa mga players, walang obligation sa government. This is what we’re trying to address initially and also to heed the call of our president to digitize all the operations,” Casas said.

[Translation: We have a verified report that just for one year of operation of illegal online gaming, they have earned P4.7 billion. No payment for the taxes, no price payment for the players, nor obligation to the government.]

Casas said the online betting project has been shelved over legal matters and issues on platforms that could interface or load in the communication system at the time.

On a question of Anakalusugan party-list Rep. Ray Reyes if the mobile app includes small town lottery (STL) or all lottery games, Casas said fixed lottery terminals are different from the mobile app where it includes all digit and jackpot games.

He added that PCSO will have mobile handheld terminals that will eventually implement STL games.

PSCO small town-lottery monthly earnings

Reyes then asked if PCSO was earning P57 billion a month, not for a year, which showed that the agency was short of target. “I am not so sure if they’re actually really addressing this matter given their mandate,” he added.

PCSO Assistant General Manager Remeliza Gabuyo said based on the group's computation, it should be earning P2.36 billion a month while the average earning for STL was P2.44 billion a month.

“Parang it doesn’t make sense… So you’re above your targets, and this is already assuming that there are so many other operators that are not paying, not remitting?” Reyes asked.

“No, for 2022 and 2023, very strict na po ‘pag dating po sa collection when regards po sa STL because if you will incur a shortfall po, automatically terminated, in fact, meron na po kaming despite the number of terminated AACs [authorized agent corporations], we have already reached our target at 2.4 billion (pesos) po a month,” Gabuyo responded.

[Translation: No, for 2022 and 2023, we are very strict when it comes to STL collection because if you will incur a shortfall, they will be automatically terminated, in fact, despite the number of terminated AACs, we have already reached our target at 2.4 billion (pesos) per month]