Government officials call for investigation into ‘strange’ lottery jackpot

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Government officials call for investigation into 'strange' lottery jackpot
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  • In the Philippines, 433 people won a $4 million lottery jackpot.
  • Officials call for an investigation into the draw, as all winning numbers are multiples of nine.
  • Lottery officials told Bloomberg that nothing about the results was irregular.

Government officials in the Philippines are calling for an investigation into the Grand Lotto result which saw hundreds of people win a jackpot worth 236 million pesos, or about $4 million.

Grand Lotto participants select six numbers ranging from one to 55, and all six numbers must match those drawn by the lottery operator, the BBC reported.

The Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office, the organizers of the lottery, announced that 433 people had won the lottery held on October 1. Each of the winners is expected to win close to $10,000.

This is the most people to ever win the Philippines Grand Lotto top prize, the BBC reported, citing local media.

The kicker? All of the winning numbers were multiples of nine: nine, 18, 27, 36, 45 and 54, Bloomberg reported.

“I have always bet on Model 9, Model 8, Model 7 and Model 6 for many years, and I am grateful that this time I won,” said an anonymous winner interviewed by the lottery agency, according to the Star.

But Terence Tao, professor of mathematics at the University of California, Los Angeles, told the BBC that this pattern of winning numbers is rare “for a single lottery”.

The result also drew skepticism from government officials. Aquilino Pimentel III, the Senate Minority Leader of the Philippines, called for an investigation into the draw and described the event as “strange and unusual” to Bloomberg.

“These lotto games are licensed by the Republic of the Philippines. Therefore, we must maintain and protect the integrity of these games of chance,” he told Bloomberg.

Lottery officials were quick to defend the results. Melquiades Robles, the general manager of the contest office, told Bloomberg there was nothing wrong with the results. People tend to hang on to the numbers they pick and bet on the same combinations over and over again, he added.

In a Facebook post congratulating the winners on October 3, Robles wrote, “The lottery is a game of chance, nothing is final and it’s uncontrollable. To the 433 new jackpot winners, it’s worth being loyal .”

The Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office declined Insider’s request for comment.

The news also caused a stir on social media. One person took to Twitter to comment on the odds: “1 bettor has a 1 in 40 million chance of winning. 433 bettors just beat those odds.”

Others weighed in disbelief. An opinion columnist at Phil Biz News tweeted about it, saying, “What a joke, just like the jokes that run the organization.”

“Was it just BY CHANCE or INTENTIONAL? asked one person in a series of tweets on Oct. 4.

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