PCSO eyes online lotto

Published February 2, 2021, 9:21 AM

by Merlina Hernando-Malipot

Playing lotto games virtually might soon be a possibility in the country as the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) leans toward allowing the conduct of online lotto.

Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) (MANILA BULLETIN FILE PHOTO)

“We are now considering it,” PCSO General Manager Royina Garma said during Monday’s press conference. She noted that currently, the agreement with the existing lotto provider for PCSO has been extended. “But when we bid out and craft the terms of reference for new lotto equipment, we are leaning towards that direction,” she added.

Garma, during the press briefing, presented the accomplishments of PCSO in 2020. She admitted that the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has greatly affected the operations of PCSO, thus, they are finding more ways to generate more income in the so-called new normal.

Since online transactions has been the norm with the current mobility restrictions, Garma said that utilizing technology for the conduct of online lotto is being taken into consideration. “We look forward, maybe in a year or two, we can go online,” she explained. “Imagine using your phone to play lotto rather than physically queuing in line,” she added.

While the possibility of online lotto is already in sight, Garma admitted that this needs careful study since there opinion saying that going online is contrary to the morals. “We are going to balance it also, we are seriously studying it now but the direction is we’re going towards that,” she added.

Garma said part of what is being considered right now is how to ensure that online lotto will not be a bad influence to people. “We want to earn but if there’s an opinion that it is contrary to morals to automate and go online because people might get addicted to gambling, then we have to consider that,” she explained.

While PCSO is looking towards the implementation of online lotto, Garma assured that everything will be regulated. “Even if we go online, we’ll make sure that it’s not going to be 24/7 and there will be age restrictions,” she added.

With most games based online, Garma said that within the next quarter, PCSO will also “be launching a new game that is also web-based.”