Just How Probable Is 433 Lotto Winners? 'Once Out of a Number With 1,224 Zeroes'


Of the million things we have to think about in the Philippines right now, the recent Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) 6/55 Grand Lotto draw is now one of them. It has us all baffled.

History was made when 433 bettors won last Saturday, sharing in the P236-million Grand Lotto jackpot. This obviously raised a few eyebrows (mostly from those of us who didn't win). But a mathematician says that while it is highly improbable, the results weren't entirely impossible.

In an interview with CNN Philippines' The Source, OCTA fellow Dr. Guido David explained that the possibility of having more than 400 winners is "one out of a number followed by 1,224 zeroes."

"Example, 1,000 has three zeros, 1 million has six zeros, 1 billion has nine zeros, 1 trillion has 12 zeros, but we are talking about one thousand zeros. That’s a very large number," David said. "...The number of molecules in a universe has 80 zeros. It’s not even comparable to the odds of having 433 lotto winners."



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The professor also mentioned that for one person to win the 6/55 lottery, they would be required to bet 29 million times in a lifetime. The PCSO assured the public that this was merely a "natural occurrence." It was a pretty amazing one, to say the least.

But David pointed out that, in itself, it isn't unusual to have a winning sequence (9, 18, 27, 36, 45, 54) like this. University of the Philippines School of Statistics Associate Professor Peter Julian Cayton, on the other hand, understands the skepticism.

In the past 20 years, he said that there had only been two or three winners each announcement. Although he did mention that these didn't have the general pattern of the numbers from the recent draw, with the results each being multiples of nine. This might have made it more likely for people to bet on the figures.

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PCSO Assistant General Manager Arnel Casas also explained that the pattern was simply established in the playing habits of bettors. Last September 26's draw had 264 bets on the same winning combination. A record 331 bettors also won the second prize of P100,000.

Lawmakers like Senate Minority Leader Aquilino "Koko" Pimentel III, however, are not convinced. The senator said that a resolution must be filed to look into the PCSO and other state-sanctioned gaming regulators in terms of their practices. Senator Risa Hontiveros, likewise, questioned the results.

Meanwhile, internet sleuths note that, when we look at a ticket, it can be easy to see why people would choose the combination. It's a basic straight line, as we can see. Others say that a bettor could hypothetically choose the numbers because, well, they're easy to remember.

As seen here.

Photo by COURTESY.

Nevertheless, the results are legit. Each winner will get P545,245.24, subject to a final tax of 20 percent. That's still more or less P400,000 more than what we have right now.

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