In the Course of an Afternoon’s Research: Jueteng in the Philippines

Self once wrote a story in which she mentioned jueteng, just in passing.  She only had an imperfect understanding of how the system worked.  What incredible arrogance.  Now, since she has time, she’s suddenly hungry for facts.  So, going to her huge, overflowing filing cabinet in the garage (!!@@##), she dredges up a very very old publication (Shall self tell you how old? Well, the pages are yellow, yellow!) called Smart File (Sadly, a very short-lived publication). So, figures below are out-of-date. Probably the figures are larger now — BWAH HA HAAA!

(For those not familiar with the term jueteng, it’s a form of gambling in which millions of Filipinos participate on a daily basis. You bet on certain numbers and the winning combination of numbers is announced at the end of the day. So, in other words, it’s like LOTTO)

  • Jueteng provides a “livelihood to roughly 800,000” people in Regions 1 through 6 (primarily in Luzon). These represent “part of the underground economy and labor force who otherwise would find it hard to land alternative jobs. More significantly, they contribute an estimated 60 billion pesos annually to the underground economy.”
  • “In any language, 60 billion pesos a year (Self did a conversion: in today’s dollars, that’s $1,344,820,000) is big money. And in any language big money can and does corrupt.”
  • “To maintain such a structure and such a considerable reach of influence is no mean feat. Running an illegal operation of such magnitude on a daily basis is not for the squeamish. It is not meant, and it cannot be meant, for one who has the scruples of a certified do-gooder. Neither can it be for anyone susceptible to being conscience-stricken. For indeed, organized jueteng is an undertaking which has to have regular recourse to force or, at the very least, a show of it.”

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

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