Jueteng (pronounced wet-teng) is an illegal numbers game played in the Philippines. Jueteng came from China and it means flower (jue) and bet (teng). Although illegal, it is a widely popular game with participation that crosses most, if not all social and economic boundaries, played by rich and poor alike. With long odds and no limits on minimum or maximum bets, the lure of quick riches through a lucrative payout is by far its strongest appeal.The game relies heavily on having a large number of wagers, and there is no limit to the amount of the bet(s). Usually the gambler selects two numbers from 1 through 37, and the winning number is determined by selecting a pair of numbers from a set of 37 numbered balls. Thus the theoretical odds of winning on any one play are one in 37C2, or 1/666. This is unlike the numbers games in the U.S. during the early part of the 20th century, where the last digit of the winning pay out or the number of the winning horse for three consecutive races determined the winning combination.
Although much has been done to curtail or eradicate this form of unregulated gambling by government and community leaders, it appears that such efforts have fallen by the wayside due to its vast popularity, and the poverty which cripples the country.
Jueteng was brought to notoriety in 2000 during the impeachment proceedings of deposed Philippine President Joseph Estrada, who was accused of receiving illegal payoffs from gambling profits. Another political scandal erupted in June 2005 involving allegations that relatives of Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo received payouts from jueteng operators.