The legalization of ‘jeuteng’ is to come under discussion by the House Committee on Games and Amusements this week. Jeuteng is a bingo/lottery type game of 37 numbers and is widely, and illegally, played throughout the Philippines. Thousands make their living as either collectors or 'cabos' (supervisors) for illegal jeuteng games, where the odds are stacked against players even if the game isn't rigged. It is estimated that around fifty million pesos (around $900,000) are taken daily in the province of Luzon alone, and the game is widespread throughout the country with the exception of Visayas and Mindanao.
The Committee has invited officials from the Philippine Police, the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office and the Philippine Gaming and Amusement Corporation to attend the meeting, so that all groups may put forward their position on the possible legalization of the game. Non-government organizations and the clergy would also be able to present their views “...in the spirit of transparency and so that all issues pertaining to jueteng can be addressed.”
The illegal jeuteng game is the source of many payoffs to politicians and military officers. Ex-president Joseph Estrada was impeached for allegedly receiving over $8.5 million in bribes from illicit gambling syndicates, and was ousted from the presidency in 2001. If jeuteng is legalized it should bring the government between P10 billion and P15 billion in much-needed revenue. There are 31,051 court cases pending against gambling lords, financiers and players, and the government’s current campaign against illegal jeuteng games has led to the arrest of over 85,000 cabos and players and the ‘neutralizing’ of around 380 jeuteng financiers.
A number of congressmen are in favour of legalizing the game but the Church, unsurprisingly, is against such a move. If legalization does occur, it would seem that not only would the government see increased revenues but they would also clear the courts of a large number of cases and consequent expense.
© Copyright 2004 CasinoCompendium
>>> return to archives
>>> return to frontpage