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20 people won South African lottery after playing 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 and 10 — investigation showed no fraud: Report

Regulators were prompted to issue a statement over the lottery’s integrity.

NOTIFIED: Jan. 12, 2021

Twenty people won South Africa’s national lottery this week by picking the numbers 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 and 10.

The unusual sequence sparked thousands of comments on Twitter and Facebook, as many questioned if a scam occurred. The outcry prompted the country’s lottery regulator to respond over the “public scrutiny” of the draw.

The South African Lottery Commission’s internal investigation into Tuesday night’s lottery reportedly concluded the drawing wasn’t rigged.

“This occurrence, while uncommon, is not impossible,” the National Lotteries Commission (NLC) said in a statement.

The odds of correctly guessing all five numbers and the PowerBall are one in 42 million, according to the operator, Ithuba Holdings.

In Tuesday’s lottery, the draw’s order was 8, 5, 9, 7, 6 and, for the PowerBall, 10.

“These numbers may be unexpected, but we see many players opt to play these sequences,” the lottery said in a social media post following the live televised drawing.

The winners all split Tuesday’s jackpot of 114 million South African rand, or nearly $7.5 million — for about 5.7 million rand ($369,000) each.

Another 79 people correctly guessed the first five numbers, but not the PowerBall.

An Ithuba spokesperson denied accusations of fraud and urged winners to claim their prizes in a report by radio station Jacaranda FM.

The NLC issued a statement on Wednesday to “assure” South Africans about the lottery’s integrity. The methods used to conduct the draws “undergo a rigorous process of review” to ensure that the lottery is “conducted with integrity and all players are afforded an equal chance of winning prizes,” it said.

The operator’s “random number generator” system also undergoes periodic testing to ensure integrity, and independent auditors and NLC officials observe the draws, it added.

The NLC said it received a report from Ithuba on Tuesday’s drawing. Based on that, it only recommended that the operator educate the public on the odds of winning and how its random number generator system works.

In the national lottery, a player chooses five numbers between 1 and 50, and a single PowerBall number from 1 to 20. The five numbers do not have to be in order, while the PowerBall number has to match to win the jackpot.

Mathematician Grant Sanderson, who is behind the YouTube channel 3Blue1Brown, told ABC News that there’s a one in 23,541 chance of a consecutive sequence like Tuesday’s draw winning. Which, it turns out, isn’t all that unusual.

“We should expect one-in-23,000-chance events to happen all the time,” he said. “If every second there’s a one-in-23,000 chance of something ‘interesting’ happening somewhere in the world, we’d expect there to be something ‘interesting’ about three to four times a day.”

ABC News’ Kirit Radia and Victor Ordonez contributed to this report.

There were cries of fraud after 20 people won South Africa's national lottery with the numbers 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 and 10.

Investigations

The investigative function of the Florida Lottery Office of Inspector General is accredited by the Commission for Florida Law Enforcement Accreditation, Inc. The investigative process is designed to detect and deter fraud, waste, mismanagement, misconduct, and other abuses within the Lottery.

Investigations are conducted in accordance with Section 20.055, Florida Statutes, the Florida Law Enforcement Accreditation Standards and the Association of Inspectors General best practices. These standards ensure the highest levels of professional practices are upheld throughout each investigation. Mandated standards include:

  • Conducting each investigation free from actual or perceived impairments to independence;
  • Minimum professional and educational qualifications as well as annual training requirements for investigators and investigative teams;
  • Periodic supervisory reviews of case progress and direction;
  • Achievement of case milestones to ensure investigations are timely;
  • Accurate and complete documentation, evidence gathering, and data analysis;
  • Consultation and/or referral to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement or other law enforcement agency for special circumstances; and
  • Consistent and fact-based reporting to the Lottery Secretary.

Administrative Investigations

Administrative investigations are conducted by the OIG when there is reason to believe that a Lottery employee, vendor, contractor, or contractor’s employee has violated any Lottery rules, policies, or procedures.

Whistle-blower Investigations

State employees, contractors, and contractor employees who submit a complaint relating to a substantial and specific danger to the public’s health, safety, or welfare or a complaint relating to gross mismanagement, malfeasance, misfeasance, gross waste of public funds, or gross neglect of duty may be a designated “Whistle-blower,” as defined by Section 112.3187-112.31895, Florida Statutes.

Whistle-blower investigations are conducted under the strict guidelines of the Whistle-blower’s Act. Specifically, if the complaint is determined by the Inspector General to meet the provisions of Whistle-blower status, the identity of the complainant remains confidential and the Whistle-blower is protected from retaliation.

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Investigations The investigative function of the Florida Lottery Office of Inspector General is accredited by the Commission for Florida Law Enforcement Accreditation, Inc. The investigative