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Monday, February 26, 2024

Lutong macao

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“If there is anything positive about the PCSO Senate hearing, it is that the public is beginning to know how the charity agency divides the betting money”

After 89 years of relative quiet, many are now doubting the integrity of the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes lottery draws.

One Congressman, in fact, went as far as demanding the resignation of the PCSO General Manager due to what he termed as “improbable and doubtful winnings.”

Jokes are now swirling whether PCSO draws are real or simply “lutong macao.”

This is not the first time the charity agency received a lot of flak with regard to its draws.

In 2022, about 433 bettors all guessed the same winning numbers.

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What is the probability of 433 people guessing the same six-number combination?

It is probably incalculable.

But for one reason or another, the PCSO never gave a satisfactory answer and the issue soon disappeared from the news.

That should have been fully investigated to clear any suspicions that PCSO lottery draws can be rigged. With all the current hullabaloo, it is perhaps a good time to revisit the issue of trust and the integrity of our lottery draws.

A lottery is supposed to be a game of chance which means that winning cannot be predetermined.

The PCSO for its part has always maintained the draws are beyond reproach.

But why the lingering suspicions?

Could the PCSO draws be manipulated given that the numbers are written on ping pong balls which are randomly sucked by air?

Is it possible, for instance, to put six tampered ping pong balls which are lighter or heavier in weights that will make the sucking instrument pick the six lighter or heavier ping pong balls?

Could the air pressure be controlled?

Are all the ping pong balls being used in the draws weighed every time there is a draw to make sure they all have the same weights?

Maybe the manipulation could be in the betting machines.

But these machines would have been long switched off when the draw takes place.

That was the question raised by many when that 2022 draw took place wherein 433 people guessed the six winning numbers.

One explanation by the PCSO at that time was a possible betting machine glitches.

But is that possible for so many machines scattered in different places?

Another issue being raised by some lawmakers is the frequency of someone winning.

Given the odds of winning and all, someone seems to be winning all the time.

For the grand lotto, the odds of winning is something like one is to 28,000,000.

For the ultra-lotto which has 58 numbers, the odds is one is to 40,475,358.

So, winning should not be so easy to allow the price money to roll over longer to become bigger.

But this is not the case because someone very “lucky” is always winning which is stretching incredulity.

If there is anything positive about the PCSO Senate hearing, it is that the public is beginning to know how the charity agency divides the betting money.

How much, for instance, does the PCSO keep for charity and how much goes back for lottery prices. We are now learning the PCSO is making tons of money and had it not been for these suspicions of irregular lottery draws, the public would not have known all these.

Clearly, the PCSO needs to be more transparent.

But in spite of the number of games being drawn, the PCSO thinks that more games are needed because it just added the e-lotto with a seed price of P500 million which was predictably won easily after getting to only P680 million.

In fact, all the games wherein the PCSO added P500 million were all won in no time at all.

Yet, the e-lotto was launched anyway with only the word of the PCSO that the draws cannot be hacked. That does not give us much confidence.

So, after everything is said and done, could the PCSO lottery draws be rigged?

Unfortunately, I do not have the answer and I doubt whether the Senate can arrive at one.

Inviting Senators to watch the draws will also not prove anything.

But if there are no changes and more transparency, these suspicions will linger and the draws will continue to be viewed by many as “lutong macao.”

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