Senate requested to analyze lotto effects for fraud

A SENATOR has filed a resolution seeking to probe the trustworthiness of the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office’s (PCSO) lotto games after 433 people won a P236-million jackpot.

“There is a need to make sure that the processes involved in the conduct of the lotto games by the PCSO are honest and free from any kind of fraud,” Senator Aquilino Martin “Koko” L. Pimentel III said in Senate Resolution 253 filed on Wednesday evening.

He noted that lotto games are state-sanctioned forms of gambling whose proceeds are used for health programs, medical assistance and other charities.

The senator said the common criticism against lotto is its “lack of transparency,” noting that the identity of the winner is not revealed. “The people are suspicious whether the conduct of the lottery is above board.”

Mr. Pimentel also said the delay between the announcement of results and the number of winners was suspicious.

He also noted that there were four winners of the P42.9-million jackpot in January, three winners of the P43.9-million jackpot in May and two winners of the P73.8-million jackpot in June.

“The frequency of hitting the jackpot and the presence of multiple winners despite the low probability of winning heightens the suspicion even more,” he said.

The probability of winning in the 6/42 lotto is one in 5.2 million chances, while it is one in 40.5 million in the case of the 6/58 ultra lotto, said the lawmaker, who graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Mathematics.

PCSO Chairman Junie E. Cua did not immediately reply to a Viber message seeking comment.

Senator Ana Theresia “Risa” N. Hontiveros-Baraquel agreed about the need to probe the lotto results.

“I support my minority leader in his call to investigate the extraordinary results of last night’s lotto draw,” she said in a statement. “We just want to rule out any doubts in the public mind that the results have been manipulated.”

“While we recognize that people tend to bet in patterns, we also want to make sure the system is secure, free from glitches and trustworthy,” she added. — Alyssa Nicole O. Tan

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