If you thought the idea of 433 people coming up with the same combination of winning lottery numbers in last week’s 6/55 Grand Lotto draw (in which the odds of any individual winning was one in 40 million) was nuts, wait until you hear this: one of those winners actually held two winning tickets — doubling their take-home prize money.
ICYMI, the Grand Lotto jackpot was a whopping PHP236 million (US$4 million), meaning each of the 433 winning tickets entitled their holders to a share of the pot worth PHP545,245 (US$9,303). But one of the supposedly lucky bettors actually got two tickets with the same winning combo, bringing his prize claim to a gross amount of PHP1,090,490.
Many have questioned the results of the draw, beginning with the fact that the winning combination consisted of numbers that were all multiples of 9. So the fact that one person bought two tickets with those numbers seems even more suspicious.
Yet the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) stands by the results of the draw, calling the occurrence of people betting on the same combination “natural,” and arguing that the winners were spread all across the country.
PCSO General Manager Mel Robles said in a CNN Philippines interview that he, too, was surprised that one person made two winning bets, which happened by accident.
“Sabi niya dalawang ticket siya. Sabi ko, ‘Bakit dalawang ticket, ‘di ba strange yung series of 9?’ Sabi niya, ‘Aksidente lang eh. Napindot. Pagtaya ko sumama yung isa pa.’ So nagkaron siya ng dalawang ticket… Lumabas na yung pangalawang ticket, binayaran niya na rin,” he explained.
(“He said he had two tickets. I said, ‘Why two tickets? Isn’t it strange to bet on a series of 9?’ He said, ‘It just happened by accident. Pressed accidentally. When I placed my bet, the other ticket had gotten printed out too.’ So he paid for the second ticket too,” he explained.)
Opposition senators said they would file a resolution to look into the integrity of the lottery draws, calling it “strange and unusual”.
“While we recognize that people tend to bet in patterns, we want to make sure the system is secure, free from glitches, and trustworthy,“ Senator Risa Hontiveros said in a statement.
Former senator and presidential candidate Ping Lacson also believes the results were anomalous.
“433 winners in one 6/55 lotto draw is highly improbable, if not impossible. If I were to investigate this apparent PCSO anomaly, I’d start by looking for a common denominator of these ‘lucky ones’,” he said.