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Opinion

Only in the Philippines?  

THAT DOES IT - Anne Sanchez - The Freeman

That’s incredible! I’m reminded of that popular TV show back in the early 80s. That's probably what everyone was thinking after 433 people hit the jackpot in the Grand Lotto 6/55 last Saturday. Each will receive more than ?500,000 as the rules state the pot is to be divided equally among the number of winners. I can't imagine how the winners felt when they saw they had the winning combination. They are now multi-millionaires. Then let off a collective sigh, or even groan after realizing they had to share the pot with 432 other people. Still, ?500,000 is nothing to sneeze at. 

One's first thought is how this could happen. The PCSO immediately defended itself and explained many favors like certain combinations such as birthdays or ages and so on. In this case, all the numbers are divisible by 9. Pure coincidence. Are you convinced? Let's look at the probabilities.

According to statisticians, the chances of winning Lotto 6/55 is one in 28,989,675 because that is the number of possible combinations for the said lottery. If we convert it into a percentage, you have 0.0000034% to win. That said, you have a higher chance of being struck by lightning than winning the lottery. But people do win, no argument there. Now, for 433 people to win in one lottery? That’s like four hundred thirty-three struck by lightning all at the same time. Statisticians don't have the odds for that, but add it is not impossible for it to happen. It’s probably an "only in the Philippines" situation.

In fact, lottery winners are very common in the country. Just think of the stats I showed for a 6/55 lottery. So, at 6/58, the chances of winning are even smaller. But we do have frequent jackpot winners. As of this writing, two people won the Lotto 6/45 jackpot last Monday. A lone winner for the 6/45 lottery was announced last September 23. Just 10 days later we have two winners. Filipinos seem to be very lucky. In other countries, it takes months, sometimes years before someone wins.

Some senators are now calling for an investigation into the said lottery draw. The purpose is “to allay suspicion of irregularity in the results of the lottery that is managed by the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO)” and “ensure the integrity of our lotto games.” People are allegedly asking too many questions on this. The PCSO maintains transparency on the draws.

The balls are shown on TV being weighed to show they are of equal weight. No one touches the balls during the draw. All is done via a machine that extracts random balls one at a time using air. I guess all the variables are explained. Unless some balls no longer have air in them to alter their bounce. Just a thought.

PCSO

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