MANILA The Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) on Friday said the expanded Small Town Lottery (STL) has posted PHP3.81 billion sales for the months of January and February this year or a 102.66 percent increase from the same period in 2017.
Last January, STL posted PHP1.87 billion sales, a 103.96 percent increase as compared with its PHP916.5 million sales in January 2017.
In February, STL posted PHP1.94 billion sales or a 101.43 percent increase as compared with its PHP966,298,117 in February 2017.
"Our STL continues to raise more funds to President Rodrigo Roa Duterte's free medicines and financial assistance to medical patients in the country amid the vilification campaign being waged in the media by vested-interest individuals to destroy the lottery game in particular and PCSO in general, PCSO General Manager Alexander Balutan said in a statement.
Keno similarly rose by 16.91 percent in two months from PHP807.2 million to PHP943.7 million; Instant Sweepstakes Ticket earned PHP611.4 million in two months, a 100 percent increase from the same months last year; while no sweepstakes draw for two months this year.
As previously reported, Lotto (6/42, 6/45, 6/49, 6/55, 6/58) and other digits (4-Digit, 6-Digit, 3-Digit, and EZ2) increased at 2.81 percent in January and February as compared with its sales in the same months last year.
All in all, sales of lotto, digit, Keno, STL, and instant sweepstakes ticket went up by 37.32 percent.
"We are happy because the people are continuously patronizing our gaming products despite the newly imposed tax on lottery prizes. For now, we can only propose for the amendment of PCSO charter to exempt lottery winnings from 20 percent tax," said Balutan.
If the amount of the winnings is about PHP10,000, the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) law requires 20-percent tax on all lottery games of PCSO.
Winnings on the lottery games such as lotto, keno, STL, and sweepstakes are affected by the said law.
"Wala na tayong magawa, batas na 'yan. Iniisip ko nga before baka ma-dissuade ang betting public na hindi na tumaya, pero tignan n'yo naman ang sales natin. Ang katwiran ng ating mga mambabatas, windfall 'yan. Kung nanalo ka ng P100 million ibigay mo na sa gobyerno'yung P20 million na tax na mapupunta din naman sa charity at serbisyong medical ng PCSO, masaya ka pa rin (We cannot do anything about it because it is now a law. The problem is simply it may dissuade the betting public but the sales has increase, the explanation of lawmakers is windfall. If you win PHP100 million and you give P20 million to the government, you can still be happy)," Balutan said.
Balutan earlier said that from PHP500 million, the monthly tax collections from lottery winnings are expected to reach PHP1 billion due to the TRAIN law.
The TRAIN, which was signed into law by President Rodrigo R. Duterte last Dec. 19, was the first package of the government's proposed Comprehensive Tax Reform Program, seen to generate additional revenue to fund the country's investment requirements.
Source: Philippine News Agency