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Suspicions as 433 people win huge jackpot

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More than 400 people have each scored a piece of a $6 million lottery jackpot in the Philippines, sparking calls for an official investigation.

The government-run Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office on Monday posted photos of throngs of winners who each made more than 500,000 pesos ($13,000) in the October 1 draw.

The 6/55 Grand Lotto Draw on Saturday night saw 433 people bet on the winning numbers — 9, 18, 27, 36, 45 and 54 — to split the 236 million peso ($6.17 million) jackpot.

The winning numbers were all divisible by nine.

Users on social media were divided, with some saying it was understandable that so many people played the same number combination, and others suggesting foul play.

Senate Minority Leader Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel called for official hearings into the “strange and unusual” result.

“These lotto games are authorised by the Republic of the Philippines,” he said in a statement. “Therefore, we need to maintain and protect the integrity of these gambling games.”

Speaking on Filipino radio, Mr Pimentel said if Senate hearings went ahead, statisticians would be asked to weigh in and the PCSO would be given a chance to explain its lotto system, Philstar reported.

Senator Risa Hontiveros also supported her minority bloc colleague’s call for an investigation.

“We just want rule out any doubts in the public mind that the results have been manipulated,” she said in a statement. “While we recognise that people tend to bet in patterns, we also want to make sure the system is secure, free from glitches, and trustworthy.”

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Speaking at a press conference, PCSO general manager Melquiades A. Robles said the office was open to an investigation but that it “found nothing wrong” in the draw, describing it as a “natural occurrence” that so many people bet on the winning combination.

In a statement posted on Facebook in Tagalog and English, Mr Robles said many people won because they “care about the numbers that come out”.

“It is a playing habit of our players to take care of the number,” he said, meaning they regularly played the same numbers.

“Lottery is a game of chance, nothing is definite and it is uncontrollable,” he added. “To the 433 new Jackpot Winners, IT PAYS TO BE LOYAL!”

Meanwhile in Australia, one lucky winner scooped the $50 million Oz Lotto jackpot on Tuesday night — and may not even know it yet.

The Victorian punter will become the biggest lottery winner of 2022 after buying the only division one winning entry across the nation.

They purchased the ticket at a Tatts outlet in Casey, in Melbourne’s south east. The winner was unregistered, meaning the ticketholder will have to come forward to claim their prize.

The winning numbers were 37, 42, 47, 39, 5, 17 and 20, while the supplementary numbers were 29, 22 and 38.

“Imagine going to bed tonight not knowing you’ve just won $50 million in Oz Lotto,” The Lott spokesperson Anna Hobdell said. “That’s the reality for one mystery Victorian after scoring division one in tonight’s Oz Lotto draw.”

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She added “We’re encouraging everyone to check their entries because they might be the newly-minted multi-millionaire we’re searching for. If you think you’re holding this very valuable entry, give us a call on 131 868.”

frank.chung@news.com.au

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