Tuesday night’s draw sparked widespread allegations of fraud or possible error as the numbers drawn were 5, 6, 7, 8 and 9, while the powerball number came out as 10.
“Six consecutive numbers have never been drawn in any state or international Lotto game," the lottery’s website said.
"I have all the drawing results for more than 180 state and international Lotto games, going back more than 50 years! Even five consecutive numbers is a very rare occurrence that, in most Lotto games, has never happened once,” SA Lottery said.
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The lottery operator acknowledged that while such a sequence of numbers is highly unusual, many players do opt for such combinations when picking their numbers.
Congratulations to 20 new multimillionaires who each won over R5 million on the PowerBall jackpot! 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 🙌 🤑 What will your winning numbers be? Check your tickets now to see if you’re a winner #FestiveYamaMillions pic.twitter.com/7DYpDjTL4R
— #PhandaPushaPlay (@sa_lottery) December 2, 2020
The 20 players won 5.7 million rand (£277,000) each and another 79 ticketholders won 6,283 rand (£306) each for guessing the sequence right but missing the powerball.
“Congratulations to tonight’s 20 winners of PowerBall draw,” the lottery tweeted late on Tuesday.
The coincidence of 20 people sharing the jackpot with the unusual sequence led to accusations of a scam, and the hashtag #lotto trended in South Africa as people discussed the bizarre results.
“Jackpot R114M. 20 people won. That’s no coincidence. 20 people discussed this and shared that jackpot equally. R114M/20 = R5,7M. Absolutely no way in hell that’s a coincidence,” said Lungaz, a twitter user.
— Mr Tee (@miste_Tee) December 2, 2020
The numbers were drawn live on TV. The odds of Tuesday night’s consecutive sequence being drawn are one in 42,375,200 – the same as any other single combination. Each of the main numbers is chosen from a pot of 50, while the powerball is picked from a pot of 20 numbered balls.
South Africa’s National Lotteries Commission’s spokesperson said they would evaluate the incident and form a report on its findings.
This is not the first time that people won a share of the jackpot. In In March 2003, 33 players hit the jackpot for a single combination, according to the website that tallies results.
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