Balutan: TRAIN law no effect to PCSO’s gaming public

Revenues from lotto products including digit games continue to increase with a total earnings of P5.2B in July, up by 18.66% despite the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) law, Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) General Manager Alexander Balutan revealed on Thursday.

“The trust and confidence of PCSO’s gaming public remains high. Maraming-maraming salamat po mga kababayan sa patuloy na pagtangkilik sa ating mga produktong lotto, lalong-lalo na itong ating Small Town Lottery o STL,” Balutan said.

According to him, the overall sales of Lotto and other digit games have already earned P5,249,195,898, an increase of 18.66 percent compared with the same period last year.

“Topping the list when it comes to revenues for the month of July is Lotto and digit games at P2,591,971,830, however it was down by 3.64 percent compared to the same period last year. As against the Small Town Lottery (STL) revenues at P1,955,344,092, which is an increase of 57.94 percent compared with same period last year,” Balutan reported.

Keno reportedly earned P398,660,720, but was down by 13.74 percent and Instant Sweepstakes Ticket with P77,255,000, which was up by 100 percent, both were compared with the same period last year.

“Even though we increased the ticket prices from P20.00 to P24.00 due to our Documentary Stamp Tax (DST), people are still patronizing our products hoping they could finally hit the jackpot,” Balutan added.

Balutan said the agency regularly conducts market studies and researches to determine the reactions of the gaming public.

“So far as for the ticket price increase, there’s no ‘significant’ negative reaction [from the gaming public]. The gaming public continues to patronize our products because it is jackpot-driven. The higher the jackpot-prize, the higher the sales,” Balutan said.

Among all Lotto products, Ultra Lotto had the highest revenues as of July with P534,473,580, an increase of 91.24 percent compared with the same period last year.

As of this writing, no winner yet for the P406.1-million jackpot prize for Ultra Lotto 6/58 since February.

When Balutan assumed the position as general manager in September 2016, the agency is only earning P37.4 billion a year vis-à-vis the revenue by the end of 2017, which was at P52.9 billion.

“With the P15 billion revenue increase annually, the agency is targeting to P55 to 60 billion total revenues by the end of the year,” Balutan said.

The PCSO Charter, or RA 1169, particularly on revenue allocation, provides that the revenue of the PCSO shall be allocated to 55 percent for prize fund (payment of prizes), 30 percent for charity fund (various charity programs and service) and 15 percent as operating fund (maintenance and operating expenses).

“We are serving 1,200 patients daily, and this is including the patients coming from 63 PCSO branches and 62 partner-hospitals with ASAP (At-Source-Ang-Processing) desks nationwide. This is where the 30 percent for Charity Fund of the gross income of PCSO goes,” Balutan explained.

For the first semester this year, Balutan revealed that the agency has already spent P20 million a day for hospitalization, request for medicines, transplant/implant, chemotherapy, and dialysis, serving 400,000 patients.

Balutan credited the increase of the overall PCSO revenue to the cooperation of the top management and employees, leadership by example, incorruptible stance against all forms of illegal numbers and gaming, and of course, the support of the gaming public.

“Parati nating tinututukan ang ating gaing public dahil ito ang lifeline ng PCSO. ‘Pag nawalan ng tiwala ang gaming public, mawawalan tayo ng kita. Kaya sinisikap natin maging transparent sa lahat ng accomplishments ng PCSO. Inilalathala natin ‘yan sa newspaper kung magkano kinita ng PCSO, saan napunta, anung mga projects, at ilan ang na-generate na mga jobs,” Balutan said.

“The data can speak for itself. ‘Yan ang ginagawa namin para manatili ang tiwala ng publiko sa ating gaming products,” he added.