Philippines lottery: Questions raised as hundreds win jackpot


A lottery in the Philippines that saw 433 people hit the jackpot has drawn surprise and triggered scrutiny.

It was the highest number of people to have ever won the Grand Lotto’s top prize, according to local media.

The winning combination for last weekend’s 236m peso ($4m; £3.5m) jackpot was a series of numbers which were all multiples of nine.

Philippines senate minority leader Koko Pimentel has called for an inquiry into the “suspicious” results.

Participants in the Grand Lotto select six numbers from one to 55. To win the jackpot, all six of a player’s numbers have to match those drawn by the lottery’s operator.

“These lotto games are authorised by the Republic of the Philippines. Therefore, we need to maintain and protect the integrity of these gambling games,” Mr Pimentel said as he called for an investigation into the lottery’s unusual outcome.

  • Indian man who won lottery hours before selling house
  • Lucky lottery winners get manhole covers

On Sunday, Melquiades Robles, general manager of the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO), sought to reassure the public and said the drawing of winning numbers cannot be rigged.

The PCSO also highlighted that people in the Philippines tended to bet on number sequences.

“Many have held on to their numbers. It’s not only good to be loyal to your wives and husbands, it’s also good to be loyal to your numbers,” Mr Robles told a news conference.

The PCSO also shared photographs and videos of people collecting their prize money at its office in Mandaluyong city, close to the capital Manila.

“I’ve been betting on pattern nine, pattern eight, pattern seven and pattern six for many years and I’m thankful I just won,” one winner said.

Terence Tao, a maths professor from University of California, Los Angeles told the BBC that a pattern like this being a winning series of numbers is rare “for any single lottery”.

“But there are hundreds of lotteries every day around the world, and statistically it would not be surprising that every few decades, one of these lotteries would exhibit an unusual pattern,” he said.

“It’s similar to how in any given hand of poker it would be unlikely to draw a straight flush, but if one looks at hundreds of thousands of hands at once then it actually becomes quite likely that a straight flush would be drawn,” he added.

It’s not the first time a lottery has seen an unusual pattern or sequence of numbers drawn.

There were accusations of fraud after 20 people shared the jackpot in South Africa’s national lottery in December 2020, when the numbers five, six, seven, eight, nine and 10 were drawn.

The organisers said the winners collected 5.7m rand ($370,000; £278,000) each.

About the author

Olivia Wilson
By Olivia Wilson


Get in touch

Content and images available on this website is supplied by contributors. As such we do not hold or accept liability for the content, views or references used. For any complaints please contact Use of this website signifies your agreement to our terms of use. We do our best to ensure that all information on the Website is accurate. If you find any inaccurate information on the Website please us know by sending an email to and we will correct it, where we agree, as soon as practicable. We do not accept liability for any user-generated or user submitted content – if there are any copyright violations please notify us at – any media used will be removed providing proof of content ownership can be provided. For any DMCA requests under the digital millennium copyright act
Please contact: with the subject DMCA Request.