PCSO to enhance strategies for higher revenues

MANILA The Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO), through its gaming sector, will not be introducing a new game this year but will revitalize and enhance instead its existing games to increase sales revenues.

We have to innovate in our strategies to enhance our existing lottery games such as Lotto in connection with Tax Reformation for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) law. So we don't see the need to introduce a new lottery game at this time although this is part of our strategy to increase our revenues, PCSO General Manager Alexander Balutan said in a statement Monday.

Due to the implementation of the TRAIN law, a final tax of 20 percent shall be imposed on Small Town Lottery (STL) prize winnings exceeding PHP10,000.

The 20-percent rate shall be computed on the basic of the full amount of the prize winning. The imposed 20-percent Final Taxes on the prize winnings shall be remitted daily to PCSO.

A separate Summary of Winners subjected to the 20-percent final tax shall be prepared on a weekly basis and be submitted every Tuesday by all STL-Authorized Agent Corporations to PCSO.

A consolidated report of the Summary of Winners shall likewise be prepared on a monthly basis and be submitted within five days following the end of every month.

The 5-percent prize fund tax shall no longer be remitted to PCSO in lieu of the final tax.

For her part, Gaming Technology Department Officer-in-Charge Aimee De Viterbo said her department and the gaming sector have started discussing strategies to innovate the games.

The introduction of the TRAIN law is very challenging for PCSO because right now, we are already bleeding. Ang laki-laki na ng taxes kaya very challenging siya (The taxes are already huge so it is very challenging) on how you will implement the law at the same time, Viterbo said.

Under the TRAIN law, a 20-percent tax will be imposed on winnings of more than PHP10,000 from Lotto, Keno, Small Town Lottery (STL), Sweepstakes, and other PCSO products.

However, it removed the corporate tax exemption on the charity agency.

Apart from the corporate tax, PCSO pays the documentary stamp tax and prize fund tax which increased from 5 percent to 20 percent.

De Viterbo said that while the sales of lottery and other number games were not yet affected of the TRAIN law, that is because PCSO has not yet fully implemented the changes.

In fact, Lotto sales and other games posed a 2.81 percent increase with reported overall sales of PHP5,384,844,980 in January and February compared to the sales of the same months last year.

PCSO is currently studying how to balance the new tax law and how they can effectively implement it that will benefit both stakeholders.

That's why we are bleeding because we are shouldering everything except for the tax being imposed on the lottery winnings. Kapag ipapa-shoulder naman natin sa bettors natin 'yung documentary stamp tax, from P20, magiging P24 siya (If we are to make our bettors shoulder the documentary stamp tax, it will increase from PHP20 to PHP24), de Viterbo said.

In a formal survey conducted in 2005 in Zamboanga City, De Viterbo said they asked about 100 respondents if they are willing to play lotto if the betting price will be lowered.

They answered yes. It was followed by how much are they willing to spend? To which they answered PHP5.00 at that time, she said.

If you estimate that today, siguro mga PHP10 na lang ang kaya nilang i-spend (Maybe they can only spend PHP10). But that depends maybe on the area because Zamboanga City is poor, she explained.

Source: Philippine News Agency