Collection of charity fund from the State-run lotto has declined reportedly due to the imposition of tax on bets and winnings under the much-criticized Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion law passed in 2017.
Appearing yesterday in a joint congressional hearing in the House of Representatives, Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office General Manager Simeon Pinili revealed that a study conducted by the agency indicated that bettors have shied away from putting money in lotto due to the tax imposed by government.
From lotto, the bettors have shifted their attention to Small Town Lottery because of the lower minimum bet it requires.
The TRAIN law does not cover STL bets and winnings.
Before being passed by Congress in 2017, lotto tax was strongly opposed by PCSO officials who warned that the 20 percent tax will only increase lotto ticket prices and drive away bettors, thus, result in drop in sales and ultimately, charity fund collection.
At the congressional hearing jointly conducted by the House Committees on Public Accounts and Games and Amusement, House Minority Leader and outgoing Quezon Rep. Danilo Suarez demanded an explanation on why lotto sales have declined.
“We noticed the STL operations merged in the lotto outlet, nagsabay sila. So on the digit games there are great decline. They opted to bet on the STL because there is not tax but in the lotto, there’s automatic tax on their bet,” Pinili explained.
According to Pinili, PCSO outlets in the province cater to both STL and lotto operations.
However, his explanation contradicted Director Sandra Cam’s claim as to the reason for the decline in lotto sales.
Cam aired the suspicion that malfeasance in the operations of the lottery games contributed to the drop in sales.
“That’s true na ang iba diyan ay hindi nakabayad ng cash bond. I’m sorry to say that but I can see it, I can smell something inside,” Cam said. (Ben R. Rosario)