Senators to look into ‘suspicious’ result, but PCSO insists it’s no ‘freak’
Four hundred thirty-three bettors won the PCSO Grand Lotto jackpot of over P236 million drawn Saturday night – a first in Philippine lotto history which Senate Minority Leader Aquilino Pimentel III described as “strange and unusual” as he pushed for an investigation.
The winning combination for the 6/55 lottery was 09-45-36-27-18-54 – all multiples of 9 – with the winners splitting among them the P236 million jackpot for a prize of P545,245 each, subject to a final tax of 20 percent.
Mel Robles, Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office General Manager, admitted that he initially thought the result was a “freak” but attributed it to the popularity of “lucky number nine” as well as bettor’s pattern and loyalty to their numbers.
“It’s the first time in a game of chance…[But] so far the event last night (Saturday evening) was just one of the ordinary events except we have a lot of winners,” he said.
But Pimentel and his fellow opposition Sen. Risa Hontiveros remained unconvinced.
“I will file a resolution because this is my concern. These lotto games are authorized by the Republic of the Philippines. Therefore, we need to maintain and protect the integrity of these gambling games that we have authorized,” he said.
“The result is very strange. For 433 to win, supposed to be your chances of winning is one in how many millions. That means, it’s that hard to win in that draw and then to say that 433 won, there is something suspicious. Many were astonished because statistically speaking, this is a very rare event,” Pimentel added.
“We just want to rule out any doubts in the public mind that the results have been manipulated. While we recognize that people tend to bet in patterns, we also want to make sure the system is secure, free from glitches, and trustworthy,” Hontiveros said in a statement.
According to University of the Philippines’s Institute of Mathematics Professor and OCTA Research Fellow Dr. Guido David, the probability that a bettor would get six numbers out of the 55 is “one out of 30 million.”
“[But] because there is a pattern [multiples of 9], there may be more bettors using this sequence of numbers because of the pattern, so we are not saying this is impossible,” he said.
“[But] there is a very little probability that there would be 400 winners at the same time,” David said.
Robles, however, brushed off suggestions of foul play or irregularity.
“PCSO assures every Filipino whether you are playing lotto or not that the conduct and result of every draw is very transparent and of utmost integrity,” he said, adding that the result of the Oct. 1 Grand Lotto draw is an indication that the more one plays the lotto, the more a person has chances of winning.
He said the games of PCSO are games of chance and there is no science nor statistics involved in determining the winning numbers unless they will play all the number combinations.
“No one can predict the result, no one can predict the number of winners or if there will be a winner as the numbers are randomly drawn during the actual draw,” he said.
He noted that the actual draws are conducted in the presence of a Commission on Audit representative and telecast live via People’s Television Network (PTV).
The draws are also streamed live over the official Facebook pages of PSCO, PCSO Games Hub, and PTV, and PCSO YouTube.