Duterte lifts suspension of STL operations ‘with conditions’

(SunStar file photo)

PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte has ordered the lifting of suspension order on the operations of the small town lottery (STL) operations, on condition that the authorized agent corporations (AACs) would comply with the government’s new rules and regulations.

This was announced by Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) general manager Royina Garma in a video uploaded on the state-run gaming site’s official Facebook account.

“We are happy to announce that pursuant to the recommendation of the PCSO, the President lifted the suspension of operations of STL’s authorized agent corporations that are compliant with the conditions of their STL agency agreement and [have] been remitting [their] guaranteed minimum monthly retail receipts (GMMRR),” Garma said.

Garma made the announcement nearly a month after Duterte ordered the suspension of all PCSO-licensed games, including lotto, STL, Keno, and Peryahan ng Bayan, due to “massive” corruption in the state gaming agency.

The PCSO chief, however, noted that the STL owners must meet the four conditions laid out by the Duterte government.

She said the STL owners need to deposit with the PCSO a cash bond “equivalent to three months of the PCSO’s share in the guaranteed monthly retail receipts, on top of their existing cash bonds.”

The second condition, Garma said, was that the AAC’s cash bond equivalent to three months of the PCSO’s share in the GMMRR would be “automatically forfeited” in favor of PCSO, upon their failure to “timely and fully” remit their receipts during the duration of their operations and without prejudice to the other remedies that may be exercised by the government.

Garma further stressed that each STL operator is required to execute a written undertaking that “it shall comply with its obligations under the STL agency agreement and will not institute any claims, monetary or otherwise against the government and/or apply for a temporary restraining order or injunction from any court to prevent the government from exercising its rights and prerogatives.”

The last condition was that the STL agency agreement would be “automatically” terminated, “upon violation of the conditions of their franchise and/or any of the above conditions without prejudice to the other remedies that may be exercised by the government,” the PCSO chief said.

“The foregoing conditions shall be applied to other AACs that may be allowed to resume operations,” Garma said.

“It is understood that all STL AACs that will be allowed to resume operations will comply with the signed and sign new STL agency agreements in accordance with the terms and conditions of the new STL implementing and regulations upon issuance thereof,” she added.

In a separate statement, Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said the effectivity of lifting of suspension order on STL operations would be “after the publication of the implementing rules and regulations.”

“Any violation of any of the conditions contained in the implementing rules and regulations will mean revocation of the licence to operate the STL,” the Palace official said.

The President ordered on July 26 stopped the operations of all games gaming activities operating under the PCSO, which include the STL.

Five days after his suspension order, he allowed on July 31 the resumption of lotto operations in the country, since the lottery game “remained untainted.”

On August 9, Duterte said gambling business is acceptable, as long as it is not tainted with corruption and does not shortchange the government. (SunStar Philippines)


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