Successive lotto wins baffle Pimentel
What’s the probability of winning a game of chance with multimillion odds in successive weeks?
Senate Minority Leader Aquilino Pimentel III on Monday raised this question as he noted that the jackpot prizes in the recent lotto draws of the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) have been won almost every week.
“These are games designed by mathematicians to be difficult to hit … When games with multimillion odds of hitting the jackpot are being hit frequently, then we better start asking questions,” Pimentel said in an interview with Senate reporters.
“It’s worth investigating and the purpose is actually for PCSO to be more transparent so that if we are convinced that there’s nothing fishy happening, all the more the [public] will patronize the games of PCSO,” he said.
The opposition senator previously sought a Senate inquiry into the state-run lottery games after 433 bettors won the P236-million jackpot in the PCSO’s 6/55 Grand Lotto draw in October last year.
The winners each took home P545,245.24 after guessing the winning six-number combination, which a statistician from the University of the Philippines said had a chance of one in 28,989,675.
According to Pimentel, the Commission on Audit (COA) should scrutinize the PCSO’s list of winners as several bettors won the jackpot in recent lotto draws.
He said the PCSO should also be mandated to publish the names of the winners without compromising their safety.
“There should be a COA-verified identity of the winner for us to see that there’s a real human being behind the announced winner of [the] lotto,” Pimentel said.
“We will invite [representatives from] the math departments of some schools to give us the probability, not only of hitting the jackpot, but of jackpots being hit week after week,” he added.
The PCSO had announced that two lucky winners from Cebu and Quezon City shared the top prize of more than P82 million in the 6/42 lotto on April 18.
Five days earlier, a lone bettor from Agusan del Norte won the P28 million jackpot in the Super Lotto 6/49 draw.
Pimentel said the PCSO should be able to explain the rather unusual occurrence of individuals betting on the right number combination almost in succession.
“I hope the Philippine experience would show that it is consistent with the mathematics behind the design of the lotto games,” he said. INQ