Pagcor urged to give game to PCSOBy Gil Cabacungan
Philippine Daily Inquirer
Congress is urging the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (Pagcor) to rescind its contract with a private company to run “Bingo Milyonaryo,” a numbers game which is reportedly competing with the small town lottery of the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO).
Negros Oriental Representative Pryde Henry Teves, chairman of the House committee on games and amusement, said that Pagcor’s Bingo Milyonaryo, which was contracted out four months before the Arroyo administration ended, was being abused by its bookies.
Bingo Milyonaro was supposed to be a lotto game where players place bets on three number combinations through their mobile phones or the Internet. But Teves said the actual game operated like the illegal numbers game “jueteng” with the illegal bookies taking 80 percent of the bet proceeds.
“If a Pagcor collector got P1,000 in bets for Bingo Milyonaryo, he would only remit P200 to the legitimate Pagcor betting outlet and place the P800 bet with the illegal bookies,” said Teves in a statement.
He said these bookies had mushroomed in his district and the police had not been able to apprehend them because of the Pagcor’s authorization.
Pagcor president Jorge Sarmiento had promised the House committee that the gaming firm would move to transfer the Bingo Milyonaryo operations to the PCSO.
Bingo Milyonaryo is currently operated by COMNET Management Corp., which obtained a five-year contract to operate the game on Nov. 10, 2009, from then Pagcor chairman Efraim Genuino. It started operations in February 2010.
Pagcor legal counsel Jay Santiago said his staff was still awaiting resolution of the issue of whether or not it was legal for Genuino to have granted such a license under Pagcor’s charter.
“Pending resolution of that legal matter we have to contend with the fact that a license was issued by Pagcor previously. Considering that this legal issue has not been resolved, it will be better if (Bingo Milyonaryo) is operated by another entity…the PCSO,” Santiago said.