Economist questions 6/55 lottery numbers as some say ‘it’s human, common'

Renowned economist Solita “Winnie” Collas-Monsod (left) expressed doubt over result of the P236 million 6/55 Grand Lotto where 433 bettors won the jackpot. (Photos: Monsod – Winnie Monsod/Facebook; Woman holding a rosary and PCSO lottery ticket - REUTERS/Romeo Ranoco)
Renowned economist Solita “Winnie” Collas-Monsod (left) expressed doubt over result of the P236 million 6/55 Grand Lotto where 433 bettors won the jackpot. (Photos: Monsod – Winnie Monsod/Facebook; Woman holding a rosary and PCSO lottery ticket - REUTERS/Romeo Ranoco)

Renowned economists and University of the Philippine School of Economics (UPSE) professor emeritus Solita “Winnie” Collas-Monsod expressed doubt over the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office’s (PCSO) 6/55 Lotto results, citing the probability of winning.

The odds of winning, according to her, was 1 in 28,989,675. This is equivalent to 0.0000000345 percent.

“The odds of winning the 6/55 Lotto prize, according to Philippine Lotto, itself, are 1 in 28,989,675,” she said. “The odds of being struck by lightning in a person’s 80-year lifetime are 1 in 15,300. That means we are 1,895 times more likely to get hit by lightning in our lifetime than winning the lotto.”

She added, “That 433-winner lottery is certainly worth investigating”, an idea that Senators Koko Pimentel and Risa Hontiveros are receptive of.

Katakataka iyong result na yan. Iyong 433 ang mananalo, supposed to be ang chances mo diyan is 1 in how many millions,” Pimentel explained. “So ibig sabihin, ganun kahirap dapat tamaan iyan and then to say na 433 ang tumama, there is something suspicious.

(That result is questionable. 433 winners, supposed to be your chances of winning is 1 in how many millions. Which means, that’s how difficult it is supposed to be to match those numbers and to say that there were 433 who got it right, there is something suspicious.)

The former socio-economic planning secretary cited a precedent of a national lottery having multiple winners, and highlighted that the previous case only involved five digits.

“The only other nat’l lottery that has had multiple-winners of that magnitude is Spain’s El Gordon,” Monsod claimed. “That is only a 5-number lottery. AND they know exactly how many duplicates a ticket number has. Do we?”

The numbers drawn were an arithmetic series with an interval of nine: 9, 18, 27, 36, 45, 54 – of which the selection of such numbers was “a human thing to do”, according to Statistician Peter Cayton.

Meanwhile, Professor Jomar Rabajante from the University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB) shared a paper entitled “Number preferences in lotteries” by Wang et al. (2016), which showed that the “lucky 9” pattern was common.

Mark Ernest Famatigan is a news writer who focuses on Philippine politics. He is an advocate for press freedom and regularly follows developments in the Philippine economy. The views expressed are his own.

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