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To Legalize Jueteng Or Not In The Philippines

Crissy Taruc By Crissy Taruc on
Badge: Advisor | Level: 19 | Legal Expertise:
Jueteng collector or kubrador

Jueteng in the Philippines is a problem of previous administrations and now a big challenge to President-apparent Noynoy Aquino on whether to legalize or put an end to it.

What is jueteng? It is an illegal numbers game played in the Philippines that originated from China meaning "flower" (jue) and "bet" (teng). Players need to choose 2 numbers from 1 to 37 and place their bets. There is no limit as to the number of bets. The players' numbers and bets are gathered by the "kubrador" (sort of collecting agent) and forwarded to what we call "kabo or bangka." Two number winning combinations are determined by a raffle from two sets of 37 numbered balls. The amount of winnings will depend on the amount of the bet. The higher the bet, the higher the winning. Also, players use strategies in placing bets, where a 3-peso bet could win differently depending on the style of bet. On the other hand, "kubrador" gets a sort of commission from the winnings, plus incentives (not compulsory) from the winning players. So, in short, it serves as a source of livelihood for them.

But why is jueteng illegal and yet PCSO Lotto and Pagcor Casinos are not? The two also are numbers games, there are players and winnings on the pot. One common reason given by those who opposed the legalization of jueteng is that the lower class of community tends to depend on "luck" (chance of winning) in jueteng. Also, those who opposed jueteng want to cut or even stop the bribe being given by gambling lords to police enforcers, politicians and others. But can jueteng be totally stopped? I think it is impossible since jueteng is still in place even though the EZ2 Lotto created by PCSO to compete with jueteng.

So is it about time to legalize jueteng so the government can benefit from it as a means of income, like PCSO? As a common individual I am more for legalizing it. First, let the people be responsible for dealing with their lives. Let no one dictate what is good or bad for one's life. Let people decide where to spend their money and learn from their bad decisions, in case they lose. Second, only police enforcers and politicians are benefitting from it. There are many issues of bribery that even went up to the Office of the President, as in the case of former president Joseph Estrada that eventually led to his guilty verdict on his plunder case. If this numbers game would be legalized the government will have additional income, in the millions, that can help in our budget deficit.

If there are legal numbers games, why not jueteng? Why not let the government and the people benefit from it and not those corrupt politicians and law enforcers receiving the blood money? Admittedly, jueteng is very popular with both rich and poor people and I think legalizing it will benefit the people and the government in a way.