‘Bingo Milyonaryo’ earned only P30M
MANILA, Philippines–Bingo Milyonaryo (BM), a lottery-like game run by the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO), has earned only between P25 and P30 million three months before its yearlong test run ends, the general manager of the agency told lawmakers on Thursday.
Jose Ferdinand Rojas II told the House committee on appropriations that the PCSO would determine by November whether or not to terminate the controversial game, which was allegedly being used as a front for illegal numbers games like “jueteng” and “masiao.”
“The earnings have not been much… only about P25 million to P30 million,” Rojas said in reply to a question by Alliance of Concerned Teachers Rep. Antonio Tinio during committee deliberations for the proposed 2015 budget.
“Bingo Milyonaryo is expiring by November, and right now we’re looking into its feasibility and viability, based on sales… and based on reports of our branch offices,” he added.
BM is a lottery-like game that offers gamers five ways to win in one draw.
Interior Secretary Mar Roxas earlier said he had been asked by President Aquino to look into the game, which resembled small-town lottery. Aquino then reportedly castigated former PCSO chair Margarita Juico, who was prompted to resign, for her refusal to cooperate with Roxas in the probe.
BM is operated in 33 franchise areas nationwide by Comnet Management Corp., an information technology company with purported links to former Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co. (PLDT) chair Antonio “Tonyboy” Cojuangco, a second cousin of Aquino.
Asked about this, Rojas said he was not personally aware of the connection. “He’s (Cojuangco) not in the incorporation papers.”
He explained that the BM project was moved to the PCSO from the Philippine Gaming and Amusement Corp. (Pagcor) through a government-to-government transfer.
“Pagcor wants to concentrate more on table games, while we want to focus on mass-based games, so we accepted this from Pagcor,” Rojas told the panel.
Comnet first obtained a five-year contract to operate BM in November 2009, from then Pagcor chair Efraim Genuino. It started operations in February 2010.
“Then it was transferred to us in December of 2012, then we had a soft launch in November. Then it’s expiring in November this year,” Rojas said.
He also confirmed earlier reports that Comnet was receiving almost 20 percent of proceeds from BM sales.
“Ten percent goes directly to them, five percent goes to their sales agents and distributors, and another percentage goes to printing costs, so total of probably almost 20 percent but that already includes agents’ commissions,” Rojas said.
He acknowledged but did not specify “defects and flaws” in the operation of BM.
“By November we will know if we will decide to terminate or continue. We’ll take into accounts all reports, committee recommendations, and our sales targets,” Rojas said.
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