Bookies’ reduced STL earnings in Pampanga

APALIT, Pampanga—The Small Town Lottery (STL) in Pampanga has grossed P2.4 billion in sales in seven years but its proceeds could have been bigger if “bookies” (illegal operations using STL as front) had been stopped, according to an official of a company authorized to run the government-sanctioned game in the province.
“We have been coordinating, complaining to the police. We have been asking them to arrest STL bookies because our sales are affected,” Eder Dizon, president of Suncove Corp., said on Saturday.
He did not give an estimate on income losses arising from competition with bookies. The company loses money when other groups pass off their operations as having been approved by Suncove or copy the operations of the company in a number of villages.
But the losses have not dislodged Suncove from being the top performer among 16 STL agents, Dizon said.
The Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO), which owns the STL franchise, gave Suncove a permit for test runs in 2006. It is allowed to run the game in the province until June 2013, a copy of a PCSO certification showed.
But neither Suncove nor the police refer to bookies as “jueteng,” the illegal numbers game that the PCSO targeted to stop through STL during the administrations of the late former President Corazon Aquino and former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.
The police reported conducting 55 operations against “STL bookies” from 2010 to September 2012, arresting 126 people mostly in the City of San Fernando and Arayat town, records showed. The police did not release a list of suspects behind these illegal operations.
Presiding over the regional peace and order council meeting on Oct. 24 in the Clark Freeport, Interior Secretary Manuel Roxas II directed Senior Supt. R’Win Pagkalinawan, Pampanga police director, to stop jueteng within a month.
Roxas gave the order in front of local officials, including Gov. Lilia Pineda, wife of suspected jueteng financier, Rodolfo “Bong” Pineda.
Bong Pineda had been investigated by the Senate for allegedly running the illegal numbers game in Pampanga and other Luzon provinces.
Roxas said he confirmed the existence of jueteng in Pampanga through his “mystery shoppers,” who placed bets and got “papelitos” or jueteng bet sheets.
Pagkalinawan declined to say how he would beat the deadline set by Roxas. Citing a PCSO information on Sept. 14, he clarified that the PNP had been deputized to arrest jueteng employees while the Games and Amusement Board had been tasked to stop STL bookies.
A Suncove report showed gross sales reaching P38.5 million in three months in 2006, P253.4 million in 2007, P361.4 million in 2008, P346.9 million in 2009, P394.2 million in 2010, P578 million in 2011 and P430.2 million in nine months of 2012. Tonette Orejas, Inquirer Central Luzon

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Clark Freeport Zone, Pampanga, Philippines 2023

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