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PCSO: Lotto prize limitless, law says

By Tina Santos
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 02:29:00 11/26/2010

Filed Under: Games, Casinos & Gambling, Awards and Prizes, People, Laws, Congress

MANILA, Philippines?The Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) is not keen on the proposal of a congressman to put a cap on the Grand Lotto jackpot at P500 million and just donate it to charity if nobody wins.

?As it is now, our game structure is very effective and proof of this was the past several winners we had who all became millionaires,? said Liza Gabuyo, PCSO assistant general manager.

Eastern Samar Representative Ben Evardone on Wednesday proposed that the PCSO cap the jackpot prize. If the maximum amount is not won or forfeited, it must be donated to orphanages and charitable institutions, he said.

Evardone said that the higher the pot, the more people were enticed into trying their luck.

?For every amount that you bet, a part of that already goes to the charity fund,? said Gabuyo, the officer in charge of online lottery.

Limitless

The law provides that the lotto jackpot prize be limitless, she said.

Thirty percent of lotto sales go to charity, 55 percent to prizes and 15 percent to PCSO operations.

Unclaimed prizes go back to the charity fund after a year, according to Gabuyo.

?And besides, we owe it to the buying public to give (the prize) back to them. I don?t think our lotto patrons would agree to the proposal of putting a limit to the pot,? she said.

She agreed with the observation that the bigger the prize, the more people join the lottery.

?It?s a good come on, so it?s good for PCSO as far as sales are concerned,? Gabuyo said. ?And it just so happens that nobody?s getting the correct six-number combination. So the pot money gets bigger and bigger.?

Going insane

Some bettors, like Cristy Rosal, 48, a former nurse, see the point of Evardone?s proposal.

?Half a billion pesos is more than enough for me. I don?t even wish to win the entire amount because I might lose my sanity,? Rosal said, laughing.

?All I want is a house and lot in an exclusive subdivision, a luxury car and savings for my children?s future. I think P500 million is too big for all that, so I wouldn?t mind if the government would limit the jackpot price,? said tricycle driver Renato Alemania, 56, a frequent lotto bettor and resident of Maricaban, Pasay City.

Slim chance

Another PCSO official said the chance of winning the lotto jackpot was 1 in 28.9 million.

?To ensure the win, you would have to spend about P580 million to place bets on all 28.9 million combinations,? he said.

But as the pot gets bigger, the probability of having a winner or more than one winner becomes greater because there are more people trying to get a wager on the draw, he said.

Nobody won the more than P633-million jackpot in the 6/55 Grand Lotto draw on Wednesday night.

Gabuyo said bettors missed the 04-41-40-55-42-45 combination, which would have guaranteed them a share in the P633.9 million jackpot, the biggest in PCSO history.

The draw on Wednesday night was the 84th without anyone winning the jackpot.

Low-tier winners

But there?s always a next time, Gabuyo said, referring to the 85th draw on Saturday night, which is expected to have a P685-million jackpot.

While no one hit the jackpot, there were several people who won low-tier prizes. Fifty-eight people won P150,000 each for getting five of the six correct numbers.

A total of 4,470 got four numbers correct and won P2,000 each, while 103,902 others won P150 each for guessing three correct numbers.

While all eyes are on the 6/55 Grand Lotto jackpot, there were several people who hit the pot in the 6/42 and 6/49 lotto draws during the past two weeks, Gabuyo said.

She denied speculations that the lottery could be rigged.

?We always ensure that there is transparency. Besides, lotto draws are aired live and we have people who witness each and every draw,? she said.



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