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HomePoliticsSenator Tulfo Calls Into Question Investments Linked to PCSO Lotto Winnings

Senator Tulfo Calls Into Question Investments Linked to PCSO Lotto Winnings

The owner of a lottery outlet in Manila reportedly poured P90 million into bets aiming to win the P640-million jackpot in the Super Lotto 6/49 draw held by the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) two months ago, as revealed by Senator Raffy Tulfo.

During the recent session of the Senate subcommittee on games and amusement on Monday, Tulfo further asserted that there were a minimum of four “multiple winners” who walked away with substantial sums of money for correctly guessing the winning number combinations in the PCSO’s 3D Lotto game.

He further alleged that officials from the state gaming agency had been disbursing cash rewards to gamblers without requiring them to provide their tax identification numbers. This raises concerns about the enforcement of the mandated 20% tax on lottery winnings.

These occurrences, according to him, have contributed to the declining credibility of PCSO’s lottery games over recent years.

During the hearing, Tulfo remarked, “No rational person would wager P90 million without certainty of winning.”

“Of course, he will invest that huge amount because there’s an assurance that he will get back his money in one way or another,” he added.

‘Inside information’
The broadcaster-turned-lawmaker, citing his information, said the unnamed bettor placed bets amounting to P30 million in each of the three lotto outlets he was operating in Manila’s Binondo district.

Tulfo said the winner, whom he declined to name for reasons of security and privacy, hit the jackpot on Jan. 16 by betting on “system 12,” which allows bettors to choose 12 numbers from 1 to 49 instead of the usual six-number combination.

According to the PCSO, the bettor took home a total of P640,654,817.60 for correctly guessing the winning combination of 26-33-14-48-06-42.

Tulfo raised concerns about the legitimacy of a recent lottery win, particularly due to the sudden addition of P500 million to the jackpot prize shortly before the draw. He suggested the possibility of insider knowledge, implying that the winner might have been aware of the impending increase in the pot from its original amount of P140 million.

The senator emphasized that while there’s nothing inherently wrong with a person spending a significant sum on multiple number combinations, the issue arises when such a substantial sum is added to the jackpot unexpectedly. He pointed out the illogical nature of investing P90 million when the prize was initially P140 million, highlighting that the motivation likely stemmed from the anticipation of winning over half a billion pesos.

PCSO General Manager Melquiades Robles did not contest Tulfo’s assertion that a lottery outlet owner had won the jackpot. However, he refuted the notion that the agency haphazardly inflated the prize money by P500 million. Robles clarified that the increase to P600 million occurred due to the absence of a winner during the preceding 15-day period.

Explaining further, Robles stated that every increment in the top prize of lottery games follows a predetermined schedule, refuting claims of arbitrary decision-making regarding the prize adjustments.

He admitted that several individuals had consistently won in the 3D lotto draw, where participants select a three-number combination ranging from 0 to 9. However, he clarified that the listed winners were not necessarily the ticket holders but rather agents authorized to claim their prizes.

The Situation Raised Concerns Based on official records from the PCSO, Tulfo highlighted a case where a bettor won 35 times the standard cash prize of P225,000 in 3D lotto draws, in addition to a one-time win of P450,000 in a draw the previous year, totaling a prize collection of P8,325,000.

Furthermore, another bettor managed to amass a total of P516,350 by winning 11 low-tier prizes across various lotto draws.

During the hearing, Attorney Arnold Kabanlit from the Anti-Money Laundering Council remarked that such extensive spending in a game of chance was “highly unusual” and raised concerns.

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