Wednesday, March 22, 2006

STL cum jueteng

To date, the standing experience is that Small Town Lottery cannot stand on its own. It was tried before and it also folded up not long after. Reason: the “official” total shell-off by their operators is 37%: 10% for the Mayor, 10% for the collector, 10% for PCSO, 3% for the Cabo, 2% for the PNP, and 2% for the Governor. Jueteng “unofficial” costing is only a total of 20-25% at most.

That is why the “official” launching of STL is also the “unofficial” resumption of jueteng. The STL cobradores are also the jueteng collectors: on one and the same hand, they hold above the STL records and below these are the jueteng papelitos.

And bettors by and large will bet on jueteng than on STL—for three main reasons:

One: STL has 40 number combinations while jueteng has only 37. Hence, there are more changes of win in jueteng than in STL.

Two: STL has straight betting. For example, a number 1/10 combination wins only if the drawing is 1 first and 10 second. In jueteng a number 1/10 combination win whether 1/10 or 10/1 is drawn. There are more chances to win in jueteng.

Three: STL accepts a minimum of 10 Pesos for one straight number combination. Jueteng accepts bets from 1 Peso to 9 Pesos. If a bettor has 10 Pesos, instead of betting all these in two numbers in STL, he bets the same amount in jueteng with a total of four “baligtaran” number combinations.

But more than all the above, gambling is coveting the money of others. For one that may win, hundreds lose. This is the way of the avaricious and the desperate. Gambling is betting on chance, luck, the “baka sakali” way of living. Real life is work, industry and parsimony.

The CBCP says: “Gambling that is organized, widespread and systemic, whether legal or illegal, is not desirable. It creates a culture that seriously erodes the moral values of our people.”

Branding STL as “legal” is an exercise in futility. PAGCOR is also “legal”. But they remain vices. One would have to stretch the imagination very much to say that gambling is a virtue.

23 March 2006