But that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t try like the millions of Filipinos hoping for a better and much more comfortable life. Especially now that everyone is trying to cope with the financial effects of rising inflation and the COVID-19 pandemic.
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.
How Does Lotto Work in the Philippines?
The Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) offers five major lotto games: 6/42, 6/45, 6/49, 6/55, and 6/58. Each game has its own pot prizes and draw schedules.
Check out this table to know the differences between the games in terms of their initial jackpot prize and lotto draw schedule.
|PCSO Lotto Game||Initial Jackpot Prize||Drawing Schedule|
|Lotto 6/42||PHP 6 million||Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday|
|Mega Lotto 6/45||PHP 9 million||Monday, Wednesday, Friday|
|Super Lotto 6/49||PH 16 million||Tuesday, Thursday, Sunday|
|Grand Lotto 6/55||PHP 30 million||Monday, Wednesday, Saturday|
|Ultra Lotto 6/58||PHP 50 million||Tuesday, Friday, Sunday|
Note that the price of each number combination is ₱20. Remember that when there's no winner, the prize money is rolled over; therefore, it becomes bigger.
Read more: 40 Money-Saving Tips for Everyone: The Ultimate Financial Hacks List
How to Play the Lotto in the Philippines
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.
Playing PCSO lotto is fast and straightforward. Here are the things you need to do:
- Visit the nearest PCSO-authorized lotto outlet. Buy your ticket and select your preferred combination of six numbers.
- Alternatively, you can select Lucky Pick (LP) on your ticket. Through this, the computer will generate six random numbers on your behalf.
- 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.
- Wait for the draw where the lotto results will be announced.
Everyone can dream, so imagine yourself living the millionaire (or billionaire) life. Get to the groove and manifest winning the lotto by playing this uber feel-good song by Travie McCoy called Billionaire!
Note: You must be at least 18 years old to buy lotto tickets or claim your lotto winnings.
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 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
Winning the lotto jackpot could put your security at risk. It's safe to wait until the public hype dies down—at least two weeks 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.
How Long to Claim PCSO Lotto Prize
Lotto jackpot winners in the Philippines 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 ₱200+ million jackpot and carefully planned his prize claiming. 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.
One of the more recent lotto winners, a female bettor from Iloilo City, waited for over two weeks before claiming her lotto winnings. She and her husband delayed their trip to Manila and kept her details confidential as a "safety precaution" for their family.
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.
Where to Claim Lotto Winnings During the Pandemic in the Philippines
If you win a consolation prize from ₱20 to ₱10,000, you can claim it at any authorized lotto outlets or PCSO branch offices within your area.
On the other hand, prizes from ₱10,001 to ₱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 St. cor. Shaw Blvd., Mandaluyong City).
Prizes from ₱300,001 and up to the 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.
How to Claim PCSO Lotto Jackpot Prize
- Go to the PCSO Main Office.
- Present two valid IDs and the winning ticket to the Prize Claim section of the Accounting and Budget Department.
- Fill out the required forms. Wait for the ticket to be validated.
- Once the ticket is verified, the Treasury Department will issue a check with the winner's name.
You can either encash the check at the nearby LANDBANK branch or open a bank account where your prize will be transferred for safekeeping.
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 to Manage Your Prize Money After Winning Lotto
No matter how financially wise you are, you’ll definitely be overwhelmed by this windfall like the Money Heist characters. 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
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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FAQs on PCSO Lotto Games in the Philippines
1. What is PCSO?
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. 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.
2. 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, that's a 1:40 million chance (or 1 in 40,475,358, to be exact).
3. Can I buy lotto tickets online?
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 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.
4. How much should I spend on lotto tickets?
The lottery 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.
5. How to check lotto results and jackpot prize today?
Want to know the winning numbers and the jackpot prize for Lotto 6/42, Mega Lotto 6/45, Super Lotto 6/49, Grand Lotto 6/55, or Ultra Lotto 6/58 game?
Tune in or visit any of these official channels and watch the lotto draws in the Philippines:
- Live airing over PTV4 and PTV News website
- Livestreaming over the PCSO website (www.pcso.gov.ph)
- PCSO Games Hub (available on Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube)
- Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office's official Facebook page (/pcsoofficialsocialmedia)
- PCSO official YouTube channel (/PCSOGOVPHOfficial)
6. What valid ID can I present for claiming my lotto prize?
Just to be sure, bring at least two valid government-issued IDs (bearing your photo and signature) such as your passport, UMID card, and driver's license when you claim your lotto winnings.
These will be your proof of identity, which will help the PCSO verify that you are indeed the person whose name is written on the winning lotto ticket.
7. Can I receive my lotto jackpot prize in installments?
No. The PCSO gives the jackpot prize as a lump-sum amount—you can't receive it in installments.
8. Are lotto winnings taxed in the Philippines?
Yes. Under the ax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) law, a 20% tax on PCSO lotto prizes over ₱10,000 is automatically deducted.
Thus, expect that you won't get the whole amount of your lotto winnings. For instance, the lone winner in the 6/55 Grand Lotto drawn on July 9, 2022 took home over ₱300 million even though her jackpot prize was ₱401.1 million. The difference between the actual prize and the net amount is the 20% tax on lotto winnings.
9. Can foreigners play and win lotto games in the Philippines?
Yes. According to the PCSO, as cited in several news reports, foreigners can bet and win in Philippine lotto draws, as long as they meet the minimum age requirement of 18 years old and above.
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.
-  Ultra Lotto Jackpot Exceeds PHP 1 Billion; PCSO Says Even Foreigners Can Win (Rappler, 2018)
-  Grand Lotto winner faces tough security check (Philstar, 2010)
-  Housewife claims P401.1 million Lotto jackpot (Philstar, August 2022)
-  About the PCSO
-  7 things you should know about lotto (Inquirer.net, 2018)
-  PCSO Eyes Online Lotto (Manila Times, 2021)
-  PCSO Lotto Results Live Draw (PTV News)
-  Live Streaming of Lotto Draws (PCSO official website)
-  PCSO Facebook page
-  PCSO YouTube channe