MANILA, Philippines - The last lotto prize winner, a female government worker from Cavite, was betting on the same number combination for over 10 years. Her persistence paid off when in October, she won the jackpot of P152 million.
People hoping to be just as lucky are scrambling to place their bets for the biggest lotto jackpot in Philippine history, which is expected to balloon to P485 million tonight.
But what are the odds of actually winning?
For the 6/55 grand lotto, Pulse Asia chief research fellow and statistician Ana Tabunda said it's one in 28,989,675.
|ONE CHANCE OUT OF 29-MILLION: Statistician and Pulse Asia chief research fellow Ana Tabunda explains the odds of winning the lotto jackpot. Credit: ANC
This means 28,989,675 is the total number of 6-digit combinations one can draw from 1 to 55. Buying 2 tickets bumps your chances only to 2 in 28,989,675.
"The probability of winning is really small," Tabunda told ANC's "Strictly Politics".
"By random, and by luck. You need all the help of the Almighty above," added Atty. Joy Rojas, general manager of the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO), the state-run lotto operator.
Despite this fact, Rojas said lines at their lotto outlets continue to be long.
Poor and rich alike have caught the lotto fever. Even government officials are taking their chances.
Sen. Miguel Zubiri said he has been sending his driver to buy him lotto tickets over the past weeks.
"Libreng mangarap. If I win, more than half of that I'll give away [to charity]," he said.
Tabunda described Zubiri as one of the "occasional bettors" who use only their disposable incomes in playing the lottery.
But she said there are those who look at the game as their way out of poverty.
"We ask the people in general, what do you think people will do when they are already desperate about getting out of poverty, and 13% of them said they will bet in the lotto.
"Even if there's just one-half chance of winning, one-half chance of losing, but you're betting against a casino with infinite capital, once in a while you will win. But if you average it out, you lose [in the long run]," explained Tabunda.
While she has nothing against luck and playing the lotto, Tabunda advised the public "to go the conservative way."
"Magtiyaga ka mag-aral...magtrabaho. There are more chances of generating income by sticking to tried and tested ways," she said.
"To look at the pot as your one chance out of poverty. It's really very small. You're better off selling barbecue or banana-cue," she added.