Lotto bets off in lockdown areas
MANILA, Philippines — Many Filipinos have been probably itching to make a beeline to lotto outlets on Tuesday until President Rodrigo Duterte placed Metro Manila and outlying provinces anew on lockdown.
Lotto outlets shuttered since March 17 were scheduled to reopen across the country on Tuesday, but as COVID-19 cases surged past 100,000 on Sunday, the President declared that the metropolis, Bulacan, Cavite, Rizal and Laguna were reverting to modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) effective that day.
Lotto operations in these areas—where travel outside home is banned except for essential workers—are suspended for 15 days until Aug. 18, and so are Instant Sweepstakes and Keno games.
“I was expecting it will resume tomorrow,’’ a dismayed Evangeline Arribe of Project 4, Quezon City, said in an online interview. “But I understand that we have to do it for the front-liners. They are really having a hard time.”
Elsewhere, it’s all systems go.
Regular Lotto 6/42, Super Lotto 6/49, Mega Lotto 6/45, Ultra Lotto 6/58 and Grand Lotto 6/55 games will resume as scheduled on Tuesday in select Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) outlets and branches in areas under general community quarantine (GCQ) and modified GCQ.
To make it affordable, lotto prices were earlier rolled back to P20 from P24 at the start of the long lockdown that has crippled business and left hundreds of thousands of Filipinos jobless.
The trip to the lotto outlet may be more enticing now for many who want to make a quick rebound from the economic doldrums, or simply to take a break from the monotony of monthslong isolation at home.
Arribe, 66, a graduate of business management, has been betting on lotto since she was 23, spending as much as P150 a day on three games (6/42, 6/45 or 6/49), and winning only four times.
“My body is looking forward to it… Especially now that I’m not doing anything. Before, I make it a point to place a bet. It challenges me,” she said.
The PCSO is implementing a fixed prize payout scheme for lotto players who correctly guess five of the six-digit winning combination. Those who will guess five of the six-digit winning combination will all get the same consolation prize amount, according to its general manager, Royina Garma.
But betting is also risky in the time of COVID-19.
To comply with health and safety regulations, the PCSO will hold online draws and announce the winners over PTV 4 and on PCSO’s official Facebook page and website.
Garma reminded all lotto outlet operators to observe physical distancing and other safety measures to stop the spread of the novel coronavirus disease.
A “no mask, no play” policy, stringent sanitization and use of money trays and own ballpens will be strictly adopted in the outlets.
Arribe said she had quit smoking and drinking, but lotto betting was another matter.
“I don’t think it’s bad. I’m not stepping on other persons. I’m only spending the money of my husband,’’ she said. “My wish is for lotto to resume and that when the time comes I hope I’d win soon, even P20,000.’’ INQ
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