The government-sponsored Lotto is the ordinary Filipino’s hope for a quick way to become a millionaire in one night. Odds of winning are one in many millions, but Filipinos still take the risk and bet a 20-peso bill or two for that golden chance. After all, there have been many winners historically. Just last June, a lottery bettor won over 400 million pesos despite the 1 in nearly 29 million odds of the Grand Lotto 6/55. And now, PCSO just announced a new winner — or more like 433.
Grand Lotto 6/55
LOOK: Some 433 bettors won the GrandLotto 6/55 9 PM draw on Saturday evening, according to PCSO. They will share the 236,091,188.40 jackpot prize money. (Facebook/Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office) pic.twitter.com/1nNQ6TNsoq
— The Philippine Star (@PhilippineStar) October 1, 2022
Over the weekend, netizens were shocked when the results of last week’s Grand Lotto 6/55 were announced. For the first time in Philippine lottery history, 433 tickets bet on the very same combination of six out of 55 numbers. This means 433 tickets won the grand prize of PHP 236 million, which will then be split evenly to PHP 545,000, excluding tax deductions.
Winners ready to claim their prize
Earlier today, PCSO shared photos of some of the 433 winners who have already visited their main office to claim their share of the jackpot prize.
LOOK: Some of the 433 bettors who won the P236-million Grand Lotto jackpot have arrived at the PCSO main office to claim their share. | 📷: PCSO pic.twitter.com/3IZBhVyi3t
— Inquirer (@inquirerdotnet) October 3, 2022
According to the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO), winners have placed bets across different provinces in the country, with 151 coming from Metro Manila.
LOOK | 6/55 jackpot winners per province
The Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) released a list breaking down the distribution of the October 1 6/55 Grand Lotto winners per province, with 151 hailing from Metro Manila. pic.twitter.com/nqlHK0ABhi
— ONE News PH (@onenewsph) October 2, 2022
Getting hundreds of winners for a single prize pot is already surprising on its own, but what makes this draw even more mindblowing is the exact numbers drawn: 09-45-36-27-18-54, all of which are multiples of 9. There is only 1 out of 28,989,675 chances among the combinations that can be formed from numbers 1 to 55, making netizens extremely shocked over the winning combination.
Surprised netizens debate about the lottery’s integrity
After the draw of Grand Lotto 6/55 last Saturday, the results quickly went viral for its rarity. Netizens were in awe of the once-in-a-lifetime occurrence. But some questioned how real the results are, with some even claiming it is impossible and might have even been rigged.
Very unbelievable yung lotto results. 433 winners and the winning numbers are all multiples of 9 wtf
— MLK (@cededream) October 1, 2022
Is there a possibility that lotto draws are rigged? 🤔
— Machiee 🌌 (@bordy_emcie) October 2, 2022
Is this possible?
Computing for the actual probability, ABS-CBN News Head of Data Analytics Edson C. Guido shared that there is only 0.000003% chances of getting the winning combination. Other statisticians and math experts say that while the chance of getting the 6 winning numbers is really low, it is still not zero. It may seem impossible, but all combinations have the same odds of being drawn, no matter how small the odds are.
(6/6) Ang daming nagsasabing dinaya daw itong Grand Lotto, pero considering everything, including ang behavior ng tao sa pagtaya ng mga numero, possible talaga ang 433 winners sa combination na arithmetic sequence.
— wilmer #ML50 (@EngrWilmer) October 2, 2022
Other netizens also added that there are psychological factors that should be considered in a winning combination like 09-45-36-27-18-54. Those are easy numbers to remember because they have a pattern (i.e. being divisible by 9), and even their placement in the lottery card forms a visual cue (i.e. a diagonal line cutting across all 6 numbers).
I won't say this is rational, but neither is this irrational.
We humans are semi-rational, trying to find reason in the unreasonable, trying to find order in chaos.
We humans being human that machines can hardly imitate.
— Peter Cayton, the Stats Guy (@PJACaytonPhD) October 1, 2022
Call for investigation
Suspecting fraud and trickery, some netizens have taken to social media to call for an investigation in the PCSO’s draw for this particular winning combination. Others even call for the public release of the winners’ names and an investigation into their identity.
Check the systems…look for time stamps of those tickets. Compare with point of sale, server logs, ticket itself.
— Marv Rivera 🇵🇭 (@OopsMTG) October 2, 2022
Such sentiments are echoed even by a couple of politicians. Senator Ping Lacson said if an investigation commences, it should start with “looking for a common denominator of these ‘lucky [winners]’”, claiming the win is “highly improbable, if not impossible.”
Likewise, Senator Koko Pimentel called for an investigation into what he described as a “suspicious” draw. “Talagang marami po ang nagtaka, na medyo nagulat because statistically speaking, this is a very rare event. Let us take this opportunity to investigate so that ang purpose natin is to ensure the integrity of our lotto games,” the senator stated in a press release.
Senate Minority Leader Aquilino "Koko" Pimentel III is seeking an inquiry into what he described as the "suspicious" winning of 433 bettors in the PCSO's Grand Lotto jackpot of P236 million on Saturday night @PhilippineStar
— Paolo S. Romero (@PaoloSRomero) October 2, 2022
How can this happen?
Despite skepticisms from many, PCSO stated that it’s not completely impossible. “There’s a first time for everything,” said PCSO General Manager Melquiades Robles, and that includes both getting multiples of 9 in one lottery draw and 433 tickets getting that exact combination.
According to PCSO, even before the Lotto 6/55 draw last Saturday, they had already noticed a trend among a large number of people betting on these very same numbers. It is also common among Filipinos to stay loyal to the same numbers and continuously bet on it — “nag-aalaga” as it were.
“Maraming tumataya ng alagang numero, loyalty-based,” Robles said in a press conference. “Since this is a game of chance, there is no right, there is no wrong, alam niyo ‘yun. In this case nga, tinamaan nila ‘yun. Nag-pay off ‘yung kanilang loyalty, kaya nga lang marami talaga sila.”
page 5 pic.twitter.com/aqxOljf4UT
— Dr. Jomar Fajardo Rabajante (@biomathph) October 2, 2022
Dr. Jomar Fajardo Rabajante, a professor at the University of the Philippines Los Banos, shared a similar inference. “Maraming nag-aalaga ng number lalo na basic na pattern as multiples of 9,” he tweeted, adding that the winning combination even has a basic visual pattern in the form of a diagonal line.
Rabajante also pointed to the so-called “lucky 9” pattern, which in Chinese culture is often considered lucky due to the word’s meaning of “long-lasting.” The UPLB professor also cited a study published in 2016, which showed a combination filled mostly with multiples of 9 being among the thirty most popular combinations in a lotto game of 6/45.
here’s a published paper… common ang lucky 9 pattern hehe :) pic.twitter.com/XRn4yz2Ct6
— Dr. Jomar Fajardo Rabajante (@biomathph) October 2, 2022
Loyalty, patterns, visual cues, and a little bit of both chance and luck. It seems that’s how 433 winners ended up splitting that 200-million-peso jackpot prize.