Sometimes hitting the jackpot is as easy as one, two, three…
On Tuesday evening, the winning numbers of the Ithuba National Lottery jackpot had South Africans raising their eyebrows after an odd sequence of 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, and 10 as the bonus number was drawn.
What’s more, the National Lottery announced South Africa had 20 new multi-millionaires as a result of the draw.
“Congratulations to tonight’s 20 winners of the PowerBall draw. These numbers may be unexpected but we see many players opt to play these sequences. Could you be one of these winners? Check your tickets now!” the PhandaPushaPlay Twitter page tweeted.
Twitter was not sharing in the good news and questioned the odds of the weird winning sequence, accusing the Lottery of cheating: “In order to put this to rest, all those 20 winners must be shown on TV, if not, we demand a Zondo Commission. #Lotto #Powerball,” said one user.
“Why would 79 people pick 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 and NOT pick 10 as a Powerball? It’s confusing.#LOTTO,” @Blink Of An Eye tweeted.
“Lotto exposing themselves that they are a scam … What do you use the 30min after-sales cutoff before the draw for? Reduce the time to 5 min. We want to see something #LOTTO,” Mr Tee said on Twitter.
Rob Hutchinson, managing director of DearSA, said something was fishy.
“There is no way 20 people played those numbers.
“I don’t want to speculate, but it is odd. It is almost impossible and highly improbable,” he said.
“There should also be an investigation into who the winners are,” Hutchinson suggested.
He added that the 30-minute gap between the draw and announcement should also be looked into.
Ralph Mathekga, a political analyst, said it looks like the winning numbers were rigged.
“It is indeed a very strange sequence of numbers and certainly the oddest combination,” he said.
Mathekga said the numbers are selected using an algorithm system.
“However, lotteries have never been transparent about their systems,” Mathegka added.
Lotteries Commission responds
In a statement on Wednesday afternoon, the National Lotteries Commission (NLC) said the sequence of numbers drawn, “while uncommon, is not impossible, with the odds of any set of numbers selected for PowerBall being 1 in 42 million”.
“The NLC would like to assure all South Africans that all National Lottery games and methods used to conduct draws undergo a rigorous process of review prior to approval by the NLC. This is to ensure that the National Lottery is conducted with integrity and all players are afforded an equal chance of winning prizes,” the NLC said.
“The NLC has previously communicated its approval of a proposal from Ithuba to employ a Random Number Generator (RNG) system, Trusted Draw 360 RNG. This is a computational device designed to generate a sequence of numbers that lack any pattern.
“Periodic testing of RNG is conducted to ensure that the National Lottery draws are fair and conducted with the utmost integrity.”
The NLC added that independent Auditors and officials from NLC observe the draw process to ensure that only authorised officials from Ithuba conduct draws.