Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) General Manager Alexander Balutan said on Monday the agency through its Gaming Sector will not be introducing a new game this year, but it will revitalize and enhance instead its existing games to increase sales revenues.
“We have to innovate in our strategies to enhance our existing lottery games such as Lotto in connection with Tax Reformation for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) law. So we don’t see the need to introduce a new lottery game at this time although this is part of our strategy to increase our revenues,” Balutan said.
Due to the implementation of Republic Act 10963, otherwise known as the TRAIN law, effective April 1, 2018, a final tax of 20 percent shall be imposed on Small Town Lottery (STL) prize winnings exceeding P10,000.
The 20-percent rate shall be computed on the basic of the full amount of the prize winning. The imposed 20-percent Final Taxes on the prize winnings shall be remitted daily to PCSO.
A separate “Summary of Winners” subjected to the 20 percent Final Tax shall be prepared on a weekly basis and be submitted every Tuesday by all STL-Authorized Agent Corporations to PCSO.
A consolidated report of the “Summary of Winners” shall likewise be prepared on a monthly basis and be submitted within five days following the end of every month.
The 5-percent Prize Fund Tax shall no longer be remitted to PCSO in lieu of the Final Tax.
‘PCSO is bleeding’
In an interview, Gaming Technology Department Officer-in-Charge Aimee De Viterbo said her department and the Gaming Sector have started discussing strategies to innovate the games.
“The introduction of the TRAIN law is very challenging for PCSO because right now, we are already bleeding. Ang laki-laki na ng taxes kaya very challenging siya on how you will implement the law at the same time,” Viterbo said.
Under the TRAIN law, a 20-percent tax will be imposed on winnings of more than P10,000 from Lotto, Keno, Small Town Lottery (STL), Sweepstakes, and other PCSO products.
However, it removed the corporate tax exemption on the charity agency.
Apart from the Corporate tax, PCSO pays the Documentary Stamp tax and Prize Fund tax which increased from 5 percent to 20 percent.
De Viterbo said that while the sales of lottery and other number games were not yet affected of the TRAIN law, that is because PCSO has not yet fully implemented the changes.
In fact, Lotto sales and other games posed a 2.81 percent increase with reported overall sales of P5,384,844,980 in January and February compared to the sales of the same months last year.
“Hindi man lumiit ‘yung ating bettors, ‘yung capacity to play bumaba. Before, they used to play P30, tatlong taya na ‘yun. Nung ginawa nating P20, isang beses na lang. Hindi na siya makadalawa kasi ‘yun lang kaya niyang i-spend sa lotto,” said De Viterbo.
PCSO is currently studying how to balance the new tax law and how they can effectively implement it that will benefit both stakeholders.
“That’s why we are bleeding because we are shouldering everything except for the tax being imposed on the lottery winnings. Kapag ipapa-shoulder naman natin sa bettors natin ‘yung documentary stamp tax, from P20.00 magiging P24 siya. Eh ‘yung migration na lang namin from P10.00 to P20.00 medyo lumiit,” de Viterbo said.
In a formal survey conducted in 2005 in Zamboanga City, De Viterbo said they asked about 100 respondents if they are
willing to play lotto if the P10 play will be lowered.
“They answered yes. It was followed by how much are they willing to spend? To which they answered P5.00 at that time,” she said.
“If you estimate that today, siguro mga P10.00 na lang ang kaya nilang i-spend. But that depends maybe on the area because Zamboanga City is poor,” she explained.“It is our only hope that the Congress will repel the law to exempt PCSO from tax.”
Lotto and other digit games
At present, PCSO has five Lotto games, which includes Super Lotto 6/49, Mega Lotto 6/45, Ultra Lotto 6/58, Grand Lotto 6/55, and Lotto 6/42.
The minimum jackpot prize is P50 million for Ultra Lotto, P30 million for Grand Lotto, P16 million for Super Lotto, P9 million for Mega Lotto, and P6 million for Lotto 6/42.
De Viterbo, however, reminded the betting public to keep their tickets even if they didn’t get all six numbers correctly and always check their tickets as it may win other consolation prizes.
“For example, for the Ultra Lotto 6/58 game, if the player got five out of six numbers, he/she can win up to P280,000; four out of six winning numbers wins the player up to P3,800; and getting three winning numbers wins the player P20.00,” explained De Viterbo.
All jackpot prizes are pari-mutuel, which means those holding winning tickets divide the total amount bet in proportion.
Apart from Lotto, players can also choose from other Digit Games, namely EZ2 Lotto, Suertres Lotto, 4-Digit, 6-Digit, and Keno.
To play EZ2 Lotto, a player will choose two number combination from 1 to 31, and if his chosen numbers match, the winning combination drawn for that particular draw, he wins P4,000 per-ten-peso-play.
For a “rambol” system play, a player wins P2,000 per-ten-peso play.
As for Suertres Lotto, a player wins the 1st prize of P4,500 per-ten-peso-play if his three numbers from 0 to 9 matches the winning combination.
For a “Rambolito 3” system play, a player wins P1,500 and “Rambolito 6” wins P750 per-ten-peso play.
For 4- and 6-Digit games, cost per combination is P10.00, but the minimum guaranteed amount for 4-Digit is P10,000 per-ten-peso play. The 6-Digit’s First Prize Pool amount starts at P150,000 per-ten-peso play. If the first prize is not won, its prize pool is snowballed for the next draw.
Lastly, Lotto Express (Keno) is PCSO’s fastest Online Lottery Game that involves multiple daily draws. Maximum jackpot prize per game is P10 million and maximum total winnings per draw is P75 million.
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