PCSO Lotto in the Philippines: Your Guide to Playing and Claiming Lotto Winnings

Published: July 6, 2021 | Updated: July 23, 2021 | Posted by: Venus Zoleta | Personal Finance


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Winning the lotto is a fantastic dream if you’re optimistic or a grand plan if you’re persistent and willing to spend a lot of money on chance. Regardless, the fact remains that the odds of being a multi-millionaire by betting on your lucky numbers are elusive. But that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t try like the millions of Filipinos hoping for a better and much more comfortable life.

You can’t deny that the lotto culture is big here in the Philippines. Even those who don’t usually join in games of chance will gladly play the lottery if the pot prize happens to be inconceivably big.

If it’s your first time playing the lotto, you’ve come to the right place. We’ve pulled together a simple yet informative guide on playing the game. And because there’s a chance (albeit rather small, let’s face it) that you may win, we’ve also come up with a short guide on how to claim lotto winnings.

What is PCSO?

First, you have to understand that the game you’re playing actually has a good impact on society. This is because the lottery is managed by the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO).

The PCSO is a government agency that raises and provides funds for health programs, medical assistance, and charities in the Philippines.[1] The agency does that by conducting sweepstakes, races, and lotteries. The money made from selling the tickets is used for funding various medical projects and activities that are beneficial to Filipinos.

How Does Lotto Work in the Philippines?

The PCSO offers five major lotto games: 6/42, 6/45, 6/49, 6/55, and 6/58. Each lotto game has its own pot prizes and drawing schedules.

Check out this table to know the differences between the games.

PCSO Lotto GameInitial Jackpot PrizeDrawing Schedule
Lotto 6/42PHP 6 millionTuesday, Thursday, Saturday
Mega Lotto 6/45PHP 9 millionMonday, Wednesday, Friday
Super Lotto 6/49PH 16 millionTuesday, Thursday, Sunday
Grand Lotto 6/55PHP 30 millionMonday, Wednesday, Saturday
Ultra Lotto 6/58PHP 50 millionTuesday, Friday, Sunday

Note that the price of each number combination is PHP 20. Remember that when there is no winner, the prize money is rolled over; therefore, it becomes bigger.[2]

Read more: 40 Money-Saving Tips for Everyone: The Ultimate Financial Hacks List

How Can I Play the Lotto?

how to claim lotto winnings | lotto tickets
Instagram photo by @rosavilmasantosrecto

Playing PCSO lotto is fast and straightforward. Here are the things you need to do:

  1. Visit the nearest PCSO-authorized lotto outlet. Buy your ticket and select your preferred combination of six numbers.
  2. Alternatively, you can select Lucky Pick (LP) on your ticket. Through this, the computer will generate six random numbers on your behalf.
  3. Pay at the cashier and have your drawing ticket scanned. You’ll then be issued the final ticket that contains all your selected numbers. Take care of this ticket because it’s a requirement for claiming your lotto winnings. Don’t crumple or deface it, as it will be deemed invalid by the PCSO.
  4. Wait for the draw. You can visit the PCSO Facebook page to see the results of the draw.

Note: You must be at least 18 years old to buy lotto tickets or claim your lotto winnings.

How to Play the Lotto During the Pandemic

Because of the ongoing pandemic, you might have wondered if it’s possible to buy lotto tickets online. Unfortunately, the PCSO has no existing mechanism in place that allows players to buy their tickets online. This means that you’ll have to head to the outlet to play.

However, there’s a chance that an online lottery[3] may happen in the future. For now, be wary of people selling lotto tickets online. Only the tickets sold and transactions made at authorized outlets are honored by the PCSO.

What is the Probability of Winning the Lotto?

Mathematical computations show how elusive the chances of winning the lotto are. To put this in perspective, there are more than 40 million six-number combinations in Ultra Lotto 6/58. This means that your chance of winning is around 0.0000024% or so. According to the PCSO,[4] that’s a 1:40 million chance (or 1 in 40,475,358, to be exact).

What to Keep in Mind When Spending on Lottery Tickets

Lotto is a game of chance. Sometimes, the more you lose, the more you want to play! This should be self-explanatory, but you must not spend a huge chunk of your monthly income on tickets alone. You have a mortgage to pay, travel plans to save for, and other investments to sustain.

If you feel like spending a lot of money just to increase your chances of winning, just remember this: You can buy millions of tickets, but you can still end up not winning the pot prize. That’s the hard truth.

If you believe that you’re getting addicted to the game and you’re getting more impulsive, don’t hesitate to seek the help of your family or a professional.

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What Should I Do If I Win the Lotto?

Here are the steps you need to do before claiming your lotto winnings.

1. Ensure You Have the Winning Numbers

First things first: double-check your numbers and make sure that they’re actually the winning ones.

2. Sign Your Winning Ticket

Whoever holds a winning lotto ticket is considered the winner. So as soon as the lotto results are out and you’ve found out and confirmed that you won, write your name and sign at the back of your ticket. The Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) requires the name and signature on the ticket for those claiming their prize.

3. Secure Your Lotto Ticket

Protect your winning lotto ticket at all costs, as the PCSO doesn’t accept damaged winning tickets. The PCSO’s lotto terminal won’t be able to read the bar code on a wrinkled, wet, or torn ticket. The serial number at the bottom right of the ticket must be visible and clear when you claim your prize.

Lotto tickets are made of thermal paper that can easily get damaged when exposed to heat, water, or oil. So keep yours in a safe place. It should be free from any erasure, stain, crease, and mutilation; otherwise, it shall not be honored by the PCSO.

Also, never give your winning ticket to anyone until you’ve claimed your prize.

4. Take Your Time Before Claiming Your Prize

how to claim lotto winnings | PCSO office
Photo by Patrickroque01 via Wikimedia Commons

Winning the lotto jackpot could put your security at risk. It’s safe to wait until the public hype dies down—at least two to three months—before claiming your prize. This will also give you more time to plan how you’ll pick it up and handle the money.

Lotto jackpot winners have up to one year to claim their prize before it gets forfeited. So just relax and take your time no matter how excited you are to get your prize.

Some previous lotto winners were extra cautious, just like one man who won a PHP 200+ million jackpot and carefully planned his prize claiming.[5] He reportedly went to the PCSO office not to collect his prize right away but just to observe the area. He transferred his family to another residence and even went on a hiking retreat to think about how to deal with his sudden wealth. After three months of waiting, the jackpot winner showed up at the PCSO office wearing large sunglasses and a wig, in an apparent attempt to conceal his identity.

Manila isn’t exactly a safe place, so be careful before you claim your lotto prize. Never go alone—be sure to bring along your trusted family or friends.

How to Claim Lotto Winnings in the Philippines

If you win a consolation prize amounting from PHP 20 to PHP 10,000, you can claim it at any authorized outlets or PCSO Branch Offices within your area.

On the other hand, prizes from PHP 10,001 to PHP 300,000 must be claimed at the PCSO Branch Office in your area or at the PCSO Main Office (2nd Floor, Sun Plaza Building, 1507, Princeton Street cor. Shaw Boulevard, Mandaluyong City).

Prizes from PHP 300,001 and up to Jackpot Prize shall be claimed at the PCSO Main Office. Note that there will be a set of validation procedures to go through at this point.

Claiming the jackpot prize is a bit more complicated process because it involves huge money.

4 Steps to Claim PCSO Lotto Prize

  1. Go to the PCSO Main Office.
  2. Present two valid IDs (preferably signature-bearing government-issued IDs) and the winning ticket to the Prize Claim section of the Accounting and Budget Department.
  3. Fill out the required forms. Wait for the ticket to be validated.
  4. Once the ticket is verified, the Treasury Department will issue a check with the winner’s name.

The PCSO gives the jackpot prize as a lump-sum amount—you can’t receive it in installments. Also, expect that you won’t get the whole amount, as the 20% tax (on lotto prizes over PHP 10,000) is automatically deducted.

You can either encash the check at the nearby LANDBANK branch or open a bank account where your prize will be transferred.

For your security and peace of mind, go for the second option. Several banks are located near the PCSO main office (LANDBANK, PNB, AUB, and EastWest Bank) where you can open a deposit account.

How Should I Manage My Money After Winning Lotto?

No matter how financially wise you are, you’ll definitely be overwhelmed by this windfall that you can’t sleep at night and think straight. Even if you’re a multi-millionaire now, there’s still a chance that you’ll go broke, especially if you don’t properly manage your winnings and you’re constantly surrounded by vultures and opportunists.

Here’s how you should manage your lotto winnings.

1. Protect Your Identity

how to claim lotto winnings | lotto players at an outlet
Instagram photo by @cy.manzo

Can’t contain your excitement? Think twice before uploading #blessed posts on your social media accounts—lest you’ll be a target of criminals and hoards of relatives and friends asking for balato.

Fortunately, the PCSO has a policy of keeping every lotto winner’s identity confidential.

Do your part in keeping your identity private. It’s crucial to remain anonymous and keep the news about your winning the lottery within a circle of trusted family and friends.

Read more: Avoid These Types of Toxic People When Saving Money

2. Do Nothing for a While

Thoughts of starting that business you’ve been dreaming of and investing in aggressive mutual funds will be running through your head. But you may want to stop and acknowledge that you’re just excited. Let the euphoria dissipate first, as such emotion will cloud your judgment. Leave the money at the bank for the first few weeks or months; it won’t go anywhere!

3. Don’t Upgrade Your Lifestyle Immediately

Don’t do anything drastic, such as buying a pricey condominium, starting a collection of Rolex watches, taking your whole family on a month-long vacation in Europe, and even quitting your job. Doing all these will attract people’s attention. Save the big purchases for later until a sound financial plan is already in place.

For now, live within your means and try modest, low-key ways to celebrate your win.

4. Deal with All Your Debts

Your lotto winnings afford you the luxury of starting over with a clean slate. Don’t let this opportunity go—pay off all your debts, from credit card balances to mortgages.

5. Seek Help from Finance Professionals

It’s difficult to deal with the instant fortune on your own. Chances are, you’ll make bad, misinformed financial decisions. You’ll need the help of consultants who can guide you through handling your money.

Build a team consisting of a financial planner who will determine the best places to put your money, a CPA (certified public accountant) who can help you with taxation, and a lawyer who will provide legal advice on estate planning (and even handle ridiculous claims from your debtors and so-called relatives).

8. Start Investing

Even if you have a 10-digit figure to your name, you’ll still lose it if you don’t invest. Make your money work for you by choosing the right investment strategies.

More importantly, diversify your portfolio to protect your net worth. You can consider the following investment instruments: mutual funds, unit investment trust funds (UITF), variable unit-linked life insurance (VUL), bonds, stocks, and real estate.

Work closely with your financial planner to come up with investment strategies that will grow your money over time.

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Final Thoughts

Winning the lotto will not only make you thrilled and ecstatic—but it can also make you feel dazed and confused. Winding up with a significant windfall can be a burden, especially if you don’t have experience managing such a large amount of money.

Of course, there are cautionary tales of millionaires that have gone broke in a matter of months. You surely want to avoid ending up with the same fate, so plan carefully, intelligently, and strategically. It isn’t enough that you know how to claim lotto winnings. What you do after matters just as much. Don’t just rely on your intuition or acumen; seek the help of professionals.

More importantly, be a good judge of character, as this is a period in your life where family and friends can potentially show their true colors.

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