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Philippines Lottery Draw Produced 433 Winners. Was It Pure Luck?

Philippines Lottery Draw Produced 433 Winners Was It Pure Luck


One longtime bettor, Elizalde Dumile, 49, said on Wednesday that the Oct. 1 lottery result smarted a little: He had played some of the same numbers before and only won about 500 Philippine pesos, or $8.50, each time. The size of the winner pool also struck him as suspiciously large, in a country where the average per-capita income is less than $4,000 a year.

“Four hundred thirty-three people got all six numbers correct all at the same time?” asked Mr. Dumile, a domestic worker in Cotabato City in southern Philippines. “There’s something fishy about that.” Members of the Philippine Congress agreed. Lawmakers in both the House and Senate said this week that they planned to investigate the contentious draw.

One of those legislators, Aquilino Pimentel III, the minority leader of the Senate, told The Times in a text message on Wednesday that while the result was “not impossible,” it seemed “highly improbable.”

The House minority leader, Marcelino Libanan, said an investigation was justified, partly because news of the 433 winners had triggered so much speculation — on social media and in news media reports — about possible fraud.

“We also have to safeguard the hopes and dreams of millions of Filipinos that patronize the lotto draws every day,” he said on Tuesday. But mathematicians said that they saw no evidence of fraud.

Czarinne Antoinette Antonio, a statistician at the University of the Philippines, said that she believed her colleague Guido David’s analysis of the Oct. 1 lottery draw was correct. She added that researchers could analyze the result further by looking more closely at specific details, including the number of people who bought tickets.

Professor Chua, the statistician in Singapore, said the criticism was an example of humans misunderstanding the nature of randomness.



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