'1 out of 1 followed by 1224 zeros': OCTA fellow analyzes 'highly unusual' lotto win

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, October 3) — The 433 winners of the Grand Lotto jackpot in last Saturday’s draw will have to split the over ₱236 million prize among themselves — an occurrence that an OCTA Research fellow and mathematician described as "highly unusual."

Speaking to CNN Philippines' The Source on Monday, OCTA fellow Guido David said the probability of having more than 400 winners in the 6/55 lottery is about one out of a number "followed by more than one thousand zeros."

"Example, 1,000 has three zeros, 1 million has six zeros, 1 billion has nine zeros, 1 trillion has 12 zeros, but we are talking about one thousand zeros. That’s a very large number," David said.

"The number of molecules in a universe has 80 zeros. It’s not even comparable to the odds of having 433 lotto winners," he added.

He also noted that winning the 6/55 lottery at least once would require a person to bet 29 million times in his lifetime.

In a separate tweet, David said that to be exact, the probability of having 433 winners of the 6/55 Grand Lotto is at "1 out of 1 followed by 1224 zeros."

But David clarified that the incident is not entirely impossible due to the mathematical sequence of the winning numbers, which all came as multiples of nine: 09-45-36-27-18-54.

"In itself, it is not unusual to have a winning sequence like this because it is as likely as any other combination. Some people are saying that maybe more people bet on the sequence because it is something that people can understand and remember," David noted. "It's like 'Lucky 9'…These numbers have some interesting properties."

Senate Minority Leader Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel and Deputy Minority Leader Sen. Risa Hontiveros previously questioned the recent Grand Lotto result. Pimentel said that he will file a resolution to investigate the PCSO’s gaming activities.

David said that if anything happens that is not usually in the realm of expectations of probability, an audit can always be made to shed light on the issue.

The Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) on Sunday assured the public about the integrity of its lotto games, adding it is a "natural occurrence," and it is normal for many players to bet on the same set of numbers.

READ: Many players betting on same 'lucky' lotto numbers ‘a natural occurrence’ — PCSO 

The PCSO also said the drawing of the winning numbers cannot be rigged and it has all the locations where the winners placed their bets.