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PCSO LOTTO | PAGASA
The Philippine Lotto Draw is a television program in the Philippines. Produced by the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) and it is aired on the National Broadcasting Network (NBN) since 1995. The draw is also simulcast live on AM radio via DZME.
Before every draw day begins with the airing of a clip in which the blowing machines, called "Mega Gems," and the balls used in each game are inspected to ensure that everything is fair and nothing is concealed in the machines and balls for the draw day. The inspection is undertaken by a panel of judges, composed of a neutral set of people not connected with the PCSO. Representatives from the Commission on Audit oversee the proceedings and the draw to see that everything goes according to protocol. The pre-draw procedure is as follows:
The panel inspects each of the Mega Gems to be used in the draws for a draw day, including the interior of the blowing chamber and the blowing mechanisms. This is to make sure there is nothing hidden in the Mega Gems that will invalidate the entire draw, such as hidden balls or obstructions. The Mega Gems are also given a dry run using a set of unmarked ping-pong balls to test if they would work as they should come the actual draw.
The balls to be used in each game are stored inside briefcases. There are usually three cases of balls to be used on each game, distinguished by either numbers or uppercase or lowercase letters. The panel randomly chooses one set using cards and its chosen card is shown. In the lot games such as the Super Lotto 6/49 and EZ-2 Lotto, the balls are of one color, and each set may have a different color. In the digit games such as the 6-Digit Game, no matter the set chosen, each digit from 0 to 9 has a different color, and each set is identical.
After one set of balls has been chosen for a game, each of the balls is weighed to see if they have the same or almost the same weight using a digital scale. This part of the procedure is covered by a separate video camera, which will record any abnormal circumstance, such as ball switching or a ball which either is overweight or is too light, should it comes out.
After the balls for the game are weighted, they are loaded by hand by the head of the panel into the loading bays of the game's Mega Gem. This is the only first of the two times human intervention is needed as each Mega Gem is operated using a remote console stationed a small distance away from the unit. The second, never shown but implied, is the removal of the balls from the Mega Gem after each draw show has ended and the results of the draws are recorded. In the case of digit lottery games, the removal of balls is the third time, as the drawn balls are also adjusted (see below).
Each Mega Gem, depending on the type of game, as already mentioned, is operated by automation. The Mega Gem loads the balls from the loading bays to the draw chamber, after which the blower starts to mix the balls. In the number lottery games (excluding the PowerLotto), the machine draws six numbers one-by-one and is inserted into the inner left loading bay. In machines used in the EZ2 Lotto and the digit lottery games, each number/digit in the combination is drawn from its own chamber. Once a ball is drawn, it is locked into place by slats placed over the pipe leading from the drawing chamber. Once the necessary number of balls has been picked, the Mega Gem is turned off.
The Mega Gem used in PowerLotto (mentioned below) was a compound version of the two types of Mega Gems stated above. The chamber which drew the main five numbers has its ball loading bays placed at the back, but had a separate tube where the five drawn number balls are directed. It was operated the same way as the Mega Gem used in the other number lottery games. The chamber that drew the power number was the same one used as the those in the 6-Digit Game. The first chamber was first turned on to draw the five main numbers. Afterwards, the first chamber was turned off and the second chamber was then switched on to draw the power number. After the power number had been drawn, the entire machine was turned off.
Balls typically have numbers all over their outer edges. The numbers on balls used in number lottery games (except the EZ2 Lotto), are read on the spot without the need of touching them. In the digit lottery games and the EZ2 Lotto with top drawing Mega Gems, the balls are adjusted to clearly show the numbers drawn. Because of the nature of the PowerLotto Mega Gem, each of the methods mentioned were applied in each of the machine's two chambers.
The Philippine Lotto Draw currently hosts a total of eight games, each with their own combinations and mechanics of play.
The number lottery games are:
•Lotto 6/42 is the original lotto draw, first introduced in 1995. The game was initially introduced in Luzon, with a separate game for the Visayan and Mindanao geographical regions as a single unit. The two draws were later combined into a nationwide one in 2005. As the name states, a six-number combination is chosen from a lot of numbers from 1 to 42. To win a prize, at least three of one's chosen numbers must match with to those of the six winning numbers. The odds of getting all six winning numbers, and thus the jackpot, are 1 in 5,245,786. Draws are held on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays.
•Mega Lotto 6/45 is a more improved version of the 6/42 draw and is also introduced as nationwide one. As the name states, a six-number combination is chosen from a lot of numbers from 1 to 45. As with 6/42, at least three of one's chosen numbers must appear among the six winning numbers to win a prize. The odds of getting all six winning numbers are much larger at 1 in 8,145,060. Draws are held on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays.
•Super Lotto 6/49 increases odds and makes winning more difficult than the previous two, this time with a lot of numbers ranging from 1 to 49. Draw mechanics are the same. The odds of winning are now higher at 1 in 13,983,816. A jackpot of P249,005,120 (US$5,942,842) was won on March 30, 2008 by a 60-year-old laborer of Quezon City. This is the largest single-winning prize. The largest ever jackpot is worth P347,836,903 (US$7,183,002). This was won on February 22, 2009 by two ticket holders who are both from Luzon. Draws are held on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays.
•Grand Lotto 6/55 is the most recent draw introduced in April 2010. Draw mechanics are the same as the previous three, but this time, the number lot is from 1 to 55. The Grand Lotto draw is held every Mondays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays and currently uses the larger of the two-chamber Power Lotto Mega Gem. While its minimum jackpot is pegged at P30,000,000, it had the Power Lotto's P108,000,000 final jackpot as its jackpot prize on its first draw.
•EZ2 Lotto is different from the previous three mentioned as it uses a two-chambered Mega Gem, each drawing a number from a lot of 1 to 31, thus ensuing a possibility of the same number appearing twice in a combination. To win the jackpot, one must have the two numbers in exact order as they appear in the chambers. The player can still win a second prize if one has the two winning numbers in reverse order. The odds of getting exact order are in 1 in 961. The odds in random order are 1 in 496. The games is held twice every day, an afternoon draw for players in Luzon and a nationwide primetime draw.
•Power Lotto was most expensive to play at P50 (slightly under US$1) and was also the most complicated to win. Five numbers from a main lot of 1 to 55 are chosen, then a sixth number, the power number, from a secondary lot of 1 to 10. Each of the two sets of numbers were drawn from two different chambers of a single collective Mega Gem. Unlike the Lotto 6/42, the Mega Lotto 6/45, the Super Lotto 6/49, and later, the Grand Lotto 6/55 wherein the jackpot increases as long as there is no winner, the Power Lotto's jackpot prize was pegged at P50,000,000 although it did increase over time. It would be awarded to anyone who matched the five main numbers and the power number. Smaller prizes were also awarded to anyone whose combination had at least three of the main numbers but not the power number or the power number and at least one of the main numbers. This game was similar to but not the same as Powerball in the United States. The Power Lotto draw was held every Saturday. It was discontinued on late April 2010, to be replaced by the Grand Lotto 6/55.
There are also three digit lottery games. Unlike the number lottery games, the digits must appear in "exact order," i.e. in the order of the numbered chamers from which each digit is drawn:
A 4-Digit Game is held with a four-chambered Mega Gem, each drawing a digit from 0 to 9. To win, one must have at least the last two digits of the winning combination. The odds of winning are 1 in 10,000. It is held on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays.
There is also a 6-Digit Game, which is drawn the same way as the 4-Digit Game, but with six digits from a six-chambered Mega Gem. To win, one must have at least the first or last three digits of the winning combination. Odds in winning are increased at 1 in 1,000,000. Exclusively played in Luzon, it is held on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays.
There is a three-digit game known as Suertres Lotto (Suertres is a portmanteau of the Spanish loanwords suerte, "luck," and tres, "three") which uses a three-chambered Mega Gem, each drawing a digit from 0 to 9. To win the jackpot, one must have all three numbers in exact order. Smaller prizes are also given to those who have the same three numbers any other order. Initially played only in the Visayan and Mindanao geographical regions, there are two midday draws exclusively for players in the said regions aside from a third primetime nationwide draw. Odds in winning are 1 in 1,000.
In playing a combination in any of the games listed above, one has to pay P10 for each combination bet. There are one exception: the price of betting in the Super Lotto 6/49 was doubled in early 2008 from P10 to P20; betting for the Grand Lotto 6/55 is also at P20. When the PowerLotto was in effect, P50 was the betting price.