House proposed 20 percent tax on lotto winnings for education and housing

A lawmaker has proposed a 20 percent tax on lotto winnings or earnings, which shall be used for education and housing purposes.

Rep. Winston Castelo (2nd District, Quezon City), author of House Bill 4774, said it is the declared policy of the State to promote the general welfare hence, toward this end, benefits should be democratized to reach as many people and beneficiaries as possible in accordance with the law.

"Lotto draws gain for the government on one end and the betting universe on the other, if an awesome amount of money is won. The winner takes home such bagful of money that is sure to improve his lot, and that of his extended family, close relatives and associates. Sometimes, the winner also shares the blessings with a small circle of private individuals only known to him," Castelo said.

Castelo said the bill aims to institutionalize this mode of sharing the blessings gained by, for example, a single winner of a lotto pot or grand draw that could reach as high as a billion peso.

"The bill finds it proper, even reasonable, to tax at least 20 percent of these lotto winnings or earnings, of which 10 percent shall be used for education and 10 percent for housing purposes as the appropriate agencies of the government may so implement," said Castelo, a vice chairman of the House Committee on Housing and Urban Development.

Castelo further said people should also learn from lessons of the past, citing as an example the case of one grand draw winner whose lotto winnings and earnings were taxed in favor of a foreign government of which he is a citizen. 

The bill provides that there shall hereby be imposed a tax of 20 percent for every lotto winning or earning, 10 percent of which shall go to education and the other 10 percent for housing purposes consistent with the law.

The bill provides further that the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) shall ensure full implementation of the measure once enacted into law.