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PCSO to start probe, audit of STL

By Tonette Orejas
Central Luzon Desk
First Posted 21:18:00 08/07/2010

Filed Under: Casinos & Gambling, Accounting and Audits

CITY OF SAN FERNANDO, Philippines?The new board of the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office has ordered an audit of the small town lottery (STL), following reports that its agents in 22 provinces and cities may be shortchanging the government by underreporting their daily sales.

The audit, scheduled to begin next week, will be conducted to ?intelligently determine the financial state of the STL,? the PCSO said in a statement released on Friday by Romualdo Quiñones, PCSO STL project director.

The statement came in reaction to an Inquirer report about the possible income loss of as much as P9 billion from only six agents in Batangas, Nueva Ecija, Angeles City, Bataan, Bulacan and Pampanga from January to June this year.

Total sales reported by six agents reached only P448,369,062 in the first half of 2010, a report obtained from a PCSO source showed.

Quiñones said the PCSO has received similar reports.

The audit would be the first on STL since it started in February 2006.

?The new members of the board of directors of the PCSO are committed to protect and uphold the integrity of the STL whatever it takes,? it added.

The mechanics of ?jueteng? and STL are identical. Number pairs are chosen from 1 to 40 and the prize money is P800 per P1 bet. Bets are written on strips of paper without control numbers.

STL employs jueteng workers. However, agents are hard put in presenting a list of their employees to even guarantee they are covered by health and safety insurance.

STL does not issue receipts for bets. It doesn?t have a single national draw, meaning its agents conduct their own draws thrice a day in their respective areas.

STL draws are not televised and monitored. Its operations are not required to secure permits from governors, mayors or local councils.

The PCSO reported making P4.959 billion in gross sales from STL from 2006 to 2008. At least 5 percent of that amount (P241.9 million) went to the Bureau of Internal Revenue and 30 percent (P1.3 billion) to charity.

In Lucena City in Quezon province, the same PCSO report that was sent to the Inquirer said while the estimates of the average STL earnings was P300 million a month, the STL franchise holder in the province, Piruoette Corp., only reported P15.4 million in sales in January, P14.3 million in February, P16.3 million in March, P14 million in April, P15.2 million in May and P15.3 million in June.



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