Philippines official declares illegal gambling over after STL shutdown

Philippines official declares illegal gambling over after STL shutdown

Small Town Lotteries (STL) have only been shut down for a couple of weeks, but according to one government official, a miracle has happened. Since President Rodrigo Duterte’s order to shut down Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) operations, and then his decision to allow them to re-open but to keep STL’s shutdown, there have been no further instances of illegal “Jueteng” gambling.

Philippines official declares illegal gambling over after STL shutdownAs reported by local outlet Philippine Inquirer, Interior Secretary Eduardo Año has indicated that this new strategy of shutting down legal gambling options has also ended the illegal ones. “For the first time, after the President declared ‘no STL’ and ‘no jueteng,’ nobody attempted to open jueteng operations until now,” he said in an interview.

Despite his declaration of unqualified success, he did admit that they would monitor activities to ensure no further Jueteng games start up.

Duterte also recently explained why he chose to keep STL operations shut down while allowing PCSO to resume other lotteries. “STL, Peryahan ng Bayan. Son of a bitch, it’s all stealing … So I had to stop it,” Mr. Duterte said. “I thought I could (stop corruption), but you know corruption has permeated government itself. I said it’s corrupt to the core and it is right now,” he added.

That corruption had Senator Panfilo Lacson calling for STLs to be permanently banned, as he’s afraid re-opening them would also allow illegal gambling to start up again. “Jueteng is like any other crime, [such as] murder, homicide or robbery. You can minimize it, but you cannot stop it as long as police officers in the field are getting a share of the payola,” he said.

It’s a little hard to swallow that, in a country that has a hard time counting the number of foreigners hired by licensed online operators, and that has difficulty enforcing its own laws at the best of times, that they’ve totally cleaned up the problem of illegal gambling in less than a month’s time.

It also suggests that, Año is either trying to save face while serving a difficult master, or he truly believes what he’s saying. If it’s the latter, then those who are still playing jueteng have simply gone further underground than they ever were before, making the activity much more dangerous than it needs to be.