Duterte lifts ban on small town lottery but with conditions

MANILA, Philippines – Small town lottery (STL) corporations may resume operations once they meet the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office's certain conditions, the agency said on Thursday, August 22.

In a Facebook video Thursday, PCSO General Manager Royina Garma announced that President Rodrigo Duterte has lifted the ban on "compliant" STL authorized agent corporations "pursuant to the recommendation of the PCSO."

Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo confirmed Garma's statement, saying the order will be effective after the PCSO publishes the new implementing rules and regulations (IRR) of the STL.

"Any violation of any of the conditions contained in the IRR will mean revocation of the license to operate the STL," Panelo said. 

This comes nearly a month after the president declared as illegal all gaming operations under the agency due to "massive corruption." (READ: Legal issues with Duterte's PCSO gaming shutdown)

Duterte let lotto operations resume 4 days after his blanket order. The agency said on July 31 that it lost as much as P250 million less than a week after the gaming ban. 

What conditions? Garma enumerated the following conditions in the agency's Faceook announcement:

Garma did not say when the agency would publish the new IRR for STL, but said that their office would be "open to accommodate if you have other inquiries or you want to settle your obligations tomorrow until next week."

The general manager had said in July that the PCSO board had long been mulling a revision of STL's IRR due to reported failure of AACs to remit enough money to the agency. The game has also widely been criticized as being a front for jueteng, an illegal numbers game. Rappler.com