Small town lottery and ‘e-sabong’ as tools for prosperity | Inquirer Opinion

Small town lottery and ‘e-sabong’ as tools for prosperity

/ 05:02 AM September 01, 2022

This may sound crazy and absurd, but why not? These two gambling activities are the favorites of ordinary Filipinos and have, in fact, resulted in broken families, loss of lives, broken dreams, etc., and many have been driven deeper into poverty.

Isn’t it possible to turn gambling into a more productive and life-enriching activity? Yes, it is totally possible and doable. Firstly, there are two major elements present in gambling, the element of chance and the element of risk. Therefore, if you remove these two elements, that activity ceases to be gambling.

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But how? Let the people themselves operate and manage small town lottery (STL) and “e-sabong” as a cooperative. That is, your bets become your contribution or your investment in the businesses owned by the cooperatives. If you are lucky, the prizes you receive are now called incentives, your incentives for investing. If you are not lucky, your betting money is considered your contribution or investment in the cooperative.

At present, millions of pesos daily are wasted by ordinary Filipinos in these two gambling activities. In 2018, before the pandemic, the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office’s revenues from STL alone was P28 billion, and for e-sabong, it is about P650 million per month or P7.8 billion per year. Some even say Atong Ang gets P3 billion per month from e-sabong. Some of these money come from recipients of the 4Ps program who indulge in these two activities hoping to earn extra cash.

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How many businesses and jobs could be created using these amounts of cash? First, let us define the profile of the micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in our country. The MSME sector is considered the backbone of our economy, and around 70 percent of the country’s labor force is in this sector. Micro enterprises are capitalized at P3 million and employ one to nine people. Small enterprises are capitalized from P3 million to P15 million and employ 10 to 99 people. Medium enterprises are capitalized at P15 million to P100 million and employ 100 to 199 people. Therefore, using even just half of the revenues from STL and e-sabong, assuming the other half is for charity and expenses, you can establish 6,000 micro businesses per year and create 6,000 to 54,000 jobs per year. For small enterprises, 1,200 to 6,000 business units and 60,000 to 118,800 jobs per year. For medium enterprises, you create 180 to 1,200 business units and 35,800 to 120,000 jobs per year. Depending on the needs of the community, you can create a combination of these enterprises.

Those enterprises are owned and managed by ordinary Filipinos through their cooperative. Down the road, the cooperatives of ordinary Filipinos will be more than ready to challenge the dominance of large e-companies owned by foreign companies and by rich Filipino businessmen, and ultimately prevail.

When people in communities nationwide work together toward a common goal, progress and prosperity for all Filipinos cannot be far behind.

Ernesto M. Adaya,[email protected]

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TAGS: e-sabong, Small Town Lottery
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