Filipinos are so fond of joining different raffles and games, and traditionally, gambling through different forms. Some Filipinos have this spirit of being competitive, to the point that they are willing to bet a part of their wealth, just to prove their worth in their communities.
Because of their interest in games, prizes, and raffles, Filipinos have easily loved the art of gambling especially during the time of Spanish colonization in this nation. One of the infamous games that they introduced here is the jueteng. This addicting game has infested the country since then and continues to thrive in different provinces despite the bold efforts by the government to stop its operations.
One of its steps in suppressing jueteng is the Introduction of Small Town Lottery in the country. Let’s take a closer look with what’s with the STL of today’s communities.
The Crusade against Illegal Gambling
Jueteng has been the inspiration for the creation of STL. It has existed in the country for centuries, from the time that Spaniards conquered and colonized the country. They introduced this play in different parts of the country. As time passed by, the number game flourished and won popularity in the majority of communities where Spanish settlements have established.
The game continues to gain popularity during the American Period and temporarily stopped during the Second World War. The games resumed after the Independence of 1946 and continue to exist until this day.
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In efforts to make the illegal gambling be stopped, the government has established the National Charity Sweepstakes in 1932, the precursor of Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office, which was established in March 1935 during Manuel Quezon’s Commonwealth Period. Since then, the government encourages more people to choose sweepstakes more than the jueteng operations to make their betting go ahead with charities ran by the government during those times.
President Cory Aquino’s Administration was the first to introduce the small-scale lotteries in different rural towns of the Philippines, on its efforts to end jueteng operations and protect the bettors from corrupt operators of jueteng in different parts of the country. Unfortunately, she and the other succeeding presidents have failed to end jueteng, thus making it continue existing within every province, including here in Metro Manila.
The same method is applied during President Gloria Arroyo’s Administration and made it as a basis on her STL approval for the agency of Philippine Sweepstakes.
Introducing the Small Town Lottery
The Small Town Lottery started during President Cory Aquino’s time and ended failed in eradicating jueteng operations. The project has revived during PGMA’s time and commenced in 2006 with modern facilities and better prizes than that of jueteng operations.
The games with today’s STL is the same with jueteng, however, STL is a government-controlled institution, assuring the people that there will be no frauds happening before, during and after its daily draws. Apart from it, STL has a wider range of numbers ranging from 1-40, compared to 1-37 of jueteng.
During its dry run, STL has tested 15 cities and provinces within the country- Albay, Bataan, Batangas, Bulacan, Ilocos Norte, Iloilo, Laguna, Negros Oriental, Occidental Mindoro, Oriental Mindoro, Pampanga, Quezon Province, Tarlac, and Zambales.
A year after its rebirth in 2006, the STL Industry has generated a revenue of ₱3 billion, provided 62,500 jobs for displaced kubrador and kabo in different areas and delivered Charity projects for different PCSO partners. The recipients of its revenue are the Local Government Units from the Province, Congressional Districts and the Municipal Governments, the Philippine National Police, and the PCSO itself.
Apart from it, STL has been successful in hampering the jueteng operations in different provinces of the country, but remained controversial due to its parallel features with the illegal gambling and its recipients, based on the memorandum released by the PCSO. Because of this, the STL has stopped new applications for franchising and works with its Technical Working Group for enhancing its Implementing Rules and Regulations.
Despite its paused growth, the STL continues to help the Filipinos to ward off from the fraudulent and harmful jueteng practices in their communities. The PNP continues its crackdown with jueteng operations that are not deterred with the tightening law enforcement for illegal gambling by the current administration of President Rodrigo Duterte.
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The Future of Small Town Lottery
The STL remains controversial for different sectors of the country, most especially the Catholic Church. Apart from it, there are familiar gambling figures that are now involved with the operations of STL in the country. There are rumors too that gambling lords are using dummies to get involved with the wealthy STL sector of PCSO.
With this, the agency has applied stricter regulations and more documents needed for submission to keep up the credibility of its games and welfare of its legitimate bettors. Last 2017, the operators have failed to give ₱4 billion to PCSO due to whatever anomalies they have said and still continues to be scrutinized by the Congress.
Meanwhile, the STL outlets have grown to 56 establishments scattered within Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao regions of the country. In the same year of 2017, the government has expected to receive ₱27 billion and plans to immediately disburse the money to different government agencies that will cover the expenses of their projects, especially those in the Local Government Units.
At the end of the day, STL has lived its intention to help eradicate every form of illegal gambling in the country. It also helped thousands of Filipino gamblers to renew their lives and work with the government for its operations, and more patients, communities, and agencies benefited from the STL due to its excellent and formidable operations on the ground.