PHILIPPINE Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) General Manager Alexander Balutan revealed on Wednesday that the agency is eyeing online, mobile or text betting to boost the 2019 sales up to 70 percent.
“Meron na kaming nakasalang for approval and testing this year para makita natin ang new market. Eto kasing dati nating games, kilala na ito ng ating mga mananaya. Titignan natin ‘yung possibility ng mga bagong game proposals at iba pang sistema ng gaming. Also ‘yung computerization or online na pwede nating i-access sa ating mga cellular phones, i-o-offer na din para pwede ng tumaya online,” said Balutan.
Balutan hinted that the agency’s revenues might hit plateau this year due to the roll-out of Small Town Lottery (STL) and Lotto nationwide.
“Baka naisagad na natin. Baka this year, hindi na gaanong tataas. Ma-maintain lang natin ‘yung P63.55 billion o umangat lang ng konti eh matindi na ‘yun. There is no possibility na ma-i-angat pa natin ang kakayahan natin. Kakalap pa tayo ng pondo through our gaming,” said Balutan.
According to Roger Ramirez, manager of Product and Standard Development Department (PSDD), there are currently 16 game proposals for evaluation by the Technical Working Group (TWG) on Gaming.
However, majority of these games have been found out to be lacking in certain requirements, some of them are yet to comply with the requirements, and some have been virtually denied.
“The gaming sector should re-consider and review the games because the lifeblood of PCSO is actually in the introduction of new games, considering the fact that in the past eight years, the sales of Lotto has actually plateaued,” said Ramirez.
Ramirez thinks it is necessary for PCSO to really come up with new and exciting games that will generate more income. A combination of online and offline, but mostly online.
“There is a marching order from the Board – from the GM himself – to expedite the processing of these games with the end in view of coming up with recommendations to the Board for the adoption of certain games. Every year, there should be at least one new game to be launched,” Ramirez added.
Mobile, text betting
Ramirez revealed that PCSO’s market penetration is only at 12 percent, that is why the top management should look into the immediate adoption of the mobile text betting whereby people can place their bets to all games online.
“’Di ba nung nag-P1 billion ang jackpot prize sa Ultra Lotto 6/58 ang haba-haba ng pila? Can you just imagine if you can place your bets on your phones in the confines of your homes, offices, or anywhere without having to go Lotto outlets? With mobile and text betting system, I guarantee the market penetration rate will go as high up to 70 percent. I think it’s going to push our market penetration rate to the skies. It’s the fastest, most significant way to actually increase the sales,” he said.
Alongside with mobile or text betting, Ramirez said the agency will also look into the registration of SIM cards to secure the bets and safety measures for minors.
“Most likely, dapat, within the first semester – January to June may new game na tayo. Minamadali na ito ng Board. Siguro within the next couple of months – mga April or May meron ng ng ilo-launch,” he added.
Factors to consider
When evaluating game proposals, the TWG looks into the financial, legal, and technical aspects. Legal aspect is about the legality of the game – whether or not the game is legally permissible under the PCSO Charter – because not all games are covered by or within the jurisdiction of PCSO.
“We are limited to lotteries. Some games belong to PAGCOR (Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation),” clarified Ramirez.
The legal aspect also tackles the mode of procurement whether or not the game proposals shall go through the bidding process, direct contracting, or other modes of procurement.
Financial aspect is where the Accounting and Treasury departments look into the revenue allocation of the proposal. It should conform to the existing revenue allocation of current PCSO games.
According to Ramirez, PCSO follows a certain formula on revenue allocation. While the proponents propose their own formula during the proposal, they have to agree with PCSO in consideration of the TRAIN law or prize fund tax during the negotiations and discussions.
“Sometimes, these proponents are not aware of how we [PCSO] actually allocate. Whenever they do come [and give their proposals], PCSO gives them the revenue allocation to study and find out if it will match their proposal,” he added.
When submitting proposals, proponents should furnish all the legal, technical, and financial requirements/documents in 15 copies. PCSO then is given 10 working days to evaluate each proposal within which all concerned line departments have to evaluate the proposals.
Should there be some need for clarifications, the line departments will request the PSDD to convene and clarify issues. All proposals are welcome all year-round. It usually comes unsolicited.
After 10 working days, line departments are expected to come up with an evaluation report. If there’s some clarification needed, the PSDD will call the proponent for a clarificatory conference.
Likewise, if there are insufficient or incomplete documents such as Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) registration or financial statements, the proponent will be asked to complete them. Proposals should also include market feasibility, income projections (how much money are they earning), and product acceptability, among many others.
Upon completion of documents, the line departments will be given another five working days to complete their evaluation. PSDD then will collate and gather all evaluations and will make a consolidated report, and submit them to the AGM for Gaming and to the GM with a recommendation if it’s regrets or okay. The GM will then submit the recommendation to the Board for discussion and approval.
“Once the game has been approved by the Board, the game is going to be PCSO’s game. We shall have the full control and supervision of the game and remittances of earnings. We will take over,” clarified Ramirez.
After the game proposal has been thoroughly studied, evaluated, and approved by the Board, PCSO and the proponent will enter into a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) where it stipulates all the terms, conditions, and obligations./PN