PHILIPPINE Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) General Manager Alexander Balutan on Thursday said the February sales of Lotto products have dropped by 39.19 percent, but he clarified that this is only temporary since the lottery products are “jackpot-drihttps://i.imgur.com/WwCQ8dH.jpgven.”

“Sales for the month of February declined by 39.19 percent, registering only P1,587,785,710 sales compared to the same period last year with P2,611,320,180. Of all Lotto products, Ultra Lotto 6/58 had the highest drop by 60.11 percent with only P166,254,440 sales, compared with P416,886,040 sales last year,” said Balutan.

Lotto 6/42 followed by -32.08 percent to P141,526,380 from P208,376,100 sales last year; Mega Lotto 6/45 by -29.03 percent to P151,347,480 from P213,281,080; Super Lotto by -28.32 percent to P146,748,500 from P204,748,760; and Grand Lotto 6/55 by -17.22 percent to P166,990,240 from P201,736,720.

“’Yung Lotto games kasi natin are jackpot-driven sales. Ina-associate kasi natin ‘yan sa jackpot prize natin. Kapag mataas ang jackpot natin, malaki din ‘yung nagiging sales. But we are expecting sales to pick up in the succeeding months,” added Balutan.

As for digit games, 3 Digits registered the highest decline by 51.97 percent to P342,821,210 from P713,824,280; followed by EZ2 by -28.36 percent to P421,705,720 from P588,685,380; 4-Digits by -22.74 percent to P32,463,880 from P42,022,850; and 6-Digits by 17.60 percent to P17,927,860 from P21,759,320.

Keno sales also declined by 50.37 percent to P219,643,880 from P442,580,610.

Last January, Balutan reported a P1,930,393,950 overall sales for Lotto and digit games, which is 30 percent lower compared to the same period last year.

“As I said earlier, we won’t be expecting much, much higher revenues this year. Hindi na gaanong tataas. Baka nga mag-plateau na ang sales natin. Ma-maintain lang natin ‘yung P63.55 billion o umangat lang ng konti eh matindi na ‘yun. There is no possibility na ma-i-angat pa natin ang kakayahan natin, but sales will definitely pick up in the coming months kapag tumaas ang ating jackpot prize. Hindi naman kasi pwedeng walang manalo,” said Balutan.

Arnel Casas, Assistant General Manager for Gaming Sector, identified two factors why sales declined this month: Jackpot prize and tax.

“One of the reasons for such low sales for the first two months in 2019 was we currently do not have high jackpot amount up for grabs and its really mind blowing that in a span of two months, there were 16 winners that hit the jackpot for various lotto games,” said Casas.

Casas revealed that for many lotto players, having a minimum jackpot amount for lotto games does not usually entice players. They tend to play when jackpot prize increases and accumulates, and it only happens when it is not being hit or won.

“Another reason that contributes to low sales is the implementation of TRAIN (or Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion) law, which we are trying to counter with the implementation of ‘balik-taya’,” added Casas.

The implementation of TRAIN law in 2017 brought about harsh taxes to personal income tax, estate tax, donor’s tax, value added tax (VAT), the excise tax of petroleum products, automobiles, sweetened beverages, cosmetic procedures, coal, mining, and tobacco, including PCSO’s document stamp tax (DST),

Under the new TRAIN law, lottery tickets were subject to higher DST prompting PCSO to impose a new price scheme for Lotto and other gaming ticket prices from P5 to P6, P10 to P12, and P20 to P24.

The TRAIN law also imposed a 20-percent tax on winnings of more than P10,000 from Lotto, Keno, Small Town Lottery (STL), sweepstakes, and other PCSO products. (PCSO release)