Why does PCSO’s pink lotto ticket fade?

Isagani de Castro Jr.

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Why does PCSO’s pink lotto ticket fade?

LOTTO. In this file photo, bettors wait for their turn in a lotto outlet in Paco, Manila on October 2, 2022.


Two senators want the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office to address the issue of fading thermal paper used for its lotto tickets, especially since lotto winners are given a year to claim their prizes

MANILA, Philippines – Have you ever seen your Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) ticket slowly fade? 

In a Senate Games and Amusement committee hearing on Thursday, January 25, Philippine Online Lottery Agents Association Incorporated (POLAAI) president Evelyn Javier brought up the poor quality paper used in lotto receipts. 

She said the old, orange-colored PCSO ticket was better than the pink ones now being used. She said the pink tickets usually fade in six to seven months, depending on the “handling.”

Two senators pressed the state-run lottery corporation to address this, especially since a winning bettor has one year to collect his prize. 

Arnel Casas, PCSO assistant general manager for gaming, product development and marketing, was asked what would happen if a jackpot winner presents a no-longer-readable ticket. 

Casas said there would be no winner because the PCSO must be able to validate and recognize the winning numbers on the ticket. 

This prompted senators Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III and committee chair Raffy Tulfo to inquire why the lotto tickets fade. 

Casas said this was because PCSO tickets use thermal paper, not the normal paper printed with ink. 

None of big winners in PCSO’s Christmas, New Year lotto games bet on all combinations, says GM

None of big winners in PCSO’s Christmas, New Year lotto games bet on all combinations, says GM

According to websites of companies that sell thermal paper, this type of paper fades when exposed to direct sunlight. They also absorb moisture in areas with high levels of humidity. If the thermal paper gets wet, it reacts with the coating and discolors it. 

It’s also not advisable to keep the ticket inside a car since it exposes the ticket to sunlight and extreme temperatures. 

Heat inside kitchens could also make the colors fade, says Chinese thermal paper maker, PandaPaperRoll

Frequent touching of the ticket degrades it, and dust also affects the “sheen” or the gloss on thermal paper rolls. 

Casas said thermal paper does not use ink, so the problem is not with the quality of the ink. 

According to the website pospaper.com, another thermal paper seller, “thermal receipt paper is coated in chemicals that allow images to be produced when heat is applied to the surface.” 

“While this is an efficient way of printing receipts, it also leaves receipts susceptible to damage or degradation from a number of chemicals and heat sources,” the site says. 

It recommends not touching it often since the oil on a person’s hands “[facilitates] chemical reactions that cause the printing on the receipt to fade.” 

It also suggests not to store receipts in bright areas since ultraviolet light from sunlight would cause it to fade “incredibly fast.” Tape should also not be used on receipts as the chemicals used in the glue on tape react with the thermal paper. 

PCSO officials said the old, orange-colored PCSO tickets were printed by the government printing facility Apo Production Unit, while the pink ones in use are based on thermal paper supplied by the winning bidder which they identified as DTM Philippines. 

Casas said the PCSO has technical specifications that bidders have to follow, and that the materials used undergo “quality testing,” including an “aging test.”

He presented a December 2022 ticket to prove that it lasts over a year. 

Tulfo said he would ask the thermal paper provider to testify in the next hearing since they want to make sure that the Philippines’ lottery system meets “general or global standards.”

PCSO officials said not all is lost on winners who may have no-longer-readable tickets, citing the Supreme Court’s ruling last September which ordered the PCSO to give winning bettor Antonio Mendoza his 6/42 jackpot prize of P12.3 million, after nine years of legal battle. 

Mendoza won via a lucky pick, but his granddaughter had crumpled his winning ticket and ironed it with a piece of cloth covering it in an attempt to straighten the ticket. It ended up black instead. Read the story here: Give lotto winner with damaged ticket his P12-M prize, SC orders PCSORappler.com


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Isagani de Castro Jr.

Before he joined Rappler as senior desk editor, Isagani de Castro Jr. was longest-serving editor in chief of ABS-CBN News online. He had reported for the investigative magazine Newsbreak, Asahi Shimbun Manila, and Business Day. He has written chapters for books on politics, international relations, and civil society.