Netizens question how 433 people beat 1-in-40 million odds to win 6/55 Grand Lotto

Just how probable is it that 433 people came up with the same winning combination of lottery numbers? If you ask social media, not very.

Netizens were shocked when the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) announced that there were not one, not two, not three… but over 400 winners in its 6/55 Grand Lotto draw on Saturday, each of whom will be able to stake their claim on the whopping PHP236 million (US$4 million) jackpot.

ABS-CBN data analyst Edson Guido said that the odds of any individual getting the six winning digits out of 55 was 0.000003%, or about one in 40 million.

Netizens also drew attention to the fact that the winning numbers were all multiples of 9, casting further doubt on the legitimacy of the draw.

Even former senator and presidential candidate Ping Lacson said he believed the results were anomalous.

“433 winners in one 6/55 lotto draw is highly improbable, if not impossible,” the veteran lawmaker on Twitter. “If I were to investigate this apparent PCSO anomaly, I’d start by looking for a common denominator of these ‘lucky ones’.”

Yet the PCSO stood by the results of its lottery draw, calling it a “happy development,” and posting photos of its winners claiming their prizes, which amounted to over PHP545,000 (US$9,240) each.

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.