What are the odds?
Twenty people have won South Africa‘s national lottery by playing numbers five through 10 in sequential order, sparking accusations of fraud and calls for an investigation into the extraordinary result.
The numbers were drawn Tuesday in the country’s PowerBall lottery, according to the South African National Lotteries Commission (NLC), which regulates lotteries in the country. The winners will each get approximately US$375,000 from the jackpot of US$7.5 million.
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Seventy-nine people won a lesser prize for playing numbers five through nine and missing the PowerBall number of 10.
The NLC says it conducted an investigation and found no evidence of foul play despite the unusual sequence and the high number of winners.
“This occurrence, while uncommon, is not impossible,” the NLC said in a statement on Wednesday.
The gaming regulator added that the odds of drawing any combination of numbers are one in 42 million.
Nevertheless, critics on Twitter and Facebook have cried foul over the lottery result, alleging collusion or some other form of corruption in the process.
No evidence has been released to date to support those accusations.
The draw was televised live on Tuesday. Organizers say they sometimes see sequential results from a draw, although the latest run is unprecedented.
The odds of sequential numbers being picked in a lottery like South Africa’s are one in 23,541, mathematician Grant Sanderson told ABC News. He says it may seem unusual for a randomly generated result, but it’s actually not that extraordinary.
“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.”
An NLC spokesperson said a review will be conducted to see if anything went wrong, and any irregularities will be shared with the public.
“We are in the process of doing that currently,” NLC spokesperson Ndivhuho Mafela told the AFP.
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