PNP closes over 2,000 lotto, gaming stores in Metro Manila

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 28 2019 11:13 AM | Updated as of Jul 28 2019 03:26 PM

A closed lotto outlet in Manila City, July 27, 2019. Angel Movido ABS-CBN News

MANILA -- A total of 2,211 lotto stores and other gaming outlets have been closed by the police as of Saturday night.

A report by the Metro Manila police showed that Manila City had the most number of outlets closed at 486, followed by Quezon City at 376, and Caloocan City at 266.

The crackdown on gaming outlets operated by the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) began after President Rodrigo Duterte accused the state gaming regulator of "massive corruption."

He also ordered the suspension of PCSO gaming schemes and gave law enforcers 24 hours starting July 27 to stop its gaming activities.

Senator Panfilo Lacson, a former police chief, meanwhile, alleged that a "big chunk" of the income from PCSO gaming schemes are not remitted and are simply recorded as "collectibles."

He also alleged that the numbers game Small Town Lottery (STL), for instance, has a collection of at least P200 million a day or around P73 billion a year in Metro Manila, and the regions of Cordillera, Ilocos, Cagayan Valley, Central Luzon, Southern Tagalog, Southwestern Tagalog, and Bicol alone but translate to "a mere P4 billion income" for the PCSO.

"[We] do not need Albert Einstein to figure out how much goes to the individual pockets of STL franchise holders, corrupt politicians, policemen and PCSO officials. No matter how many congressional hearings are conducted, the palms of these people continue to be greased by gambling money," Lacson said in a statement.

"The fact is, illegal jueteng merely masquerades as legitimate STL operations, 7 days a week, without fail, whose 'kubrador' are armed with PCSO ID's to avoid arrest by the police who may be co-opted anyways," he said.