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PCSO files raps vs 4 firms for illegal lottery

THE Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) filed charges against four firms allegedly engaged in unauthorized online lottery operations in the country.

PCSO General Manager Mel Robles on Monday led the filing of the complaints for usurpation of authority and violations of Republic Act 1169 (An Act Providing for Charity Sweepstakes Horse Races and Lotteries) and Presidential Decree 1602 (illegal gambling) against Eplayment Corp., Paymero Technologies Ltd., GlobalComRCI International, and Blockchain Smart-Tech Co. I.T. Consultancy before the Mandaluyong City Prosecutor's Office.

«We will prosecute and jail everyone related to this illegal operation to stop their illegal activities,» Robles told reporters after the filing.

He said the criminal complaints were prompted by an investigation by the National Bureau of Investigation, which revealed that these groups were responsible for the ownership, operation, and administration of illegal online lottery games «Pakilotto» and «surelotto.»

The investigation discovered that Eplayment, which operated under the now-defunct website «Pakilotto,» was soliciting and accepting bets from the public at an inflated price of P30 per ticket, a 50 percent markup compared to the standard P20 lotto ticket.

Surelotto, a similar mobile app, sold tickets online for P25, or 25 percent higher than the regular price.

Prizes of smaller denominations are allegedly directly deposited into the winner's registered bank account, while jackpot prizes require winners to visit the Surelotto office in person.

Meanwhile, GlobalComRCI and Blockchain Smart-Tech entered into an agreement with Eplayment and technology provider Paymero, using the latter's software for processing payments and managing financial account information.

Although GlobalComRCI and Blockchain Smart-Tech were considered facilitators, they reportedly established a revenue-sharing arrangement.

Robles said the companies also reportedly misused the PCSO's name, logo, and various lottery games, soliciting and accepting bets from the public through their unauthorized mobile applications and websites.

He said the PCSO is losing billions of pesos in revenues due to the illegal operations of