Suggestions to make PCSO lottery games more secure

Suggestions to make PCSO lottery games more secure and trustworthy

/ 04:05 AM February 06, 2024

These past weeks, my social media accounts have been bombarded with posts about suspicions and rumors of possible rigging in the lottery games of the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO). The intensity of these discussions was heightened by the significant amount added to the jackpots last December, just before winners became suspiciously frequent. Additionally, we cannot forget the badly edited viral photo of a lottery jackpot winner that PCSO released.

The question remains: How do we make PCSO, a government-owned nonprofit, more secure and trustworthy so that it can fulfill its mission of assisting fellow Filipinos in need? Keep in mind that the more bettors trust it, the more funds it can generate, and the more people it can help.

We cannot deny that people in many countries plagued by corruption will always be skeptical of their government, as well as anything operated by it. Therefore, the real solution is to think of a way for as many people, possibly all bettors, to have the ability to verify the authenticity of jackpot winners without revealing their identities.


Let’s talk about the easiest aspect to address first—the drawing balls. For each set of drawing balls, PCSO could conduct a separate live stream. Each stream should include the process of checking that each ball has the same weight without the camera leaving the balls until after the official final draw, preventing skepticism of ball swapping after the weighing test. The cameras don’t have to be of the highest quality; they just need to be enough for people to see and be able to investigate on their own that everything is authentic. The drawing of combinations can be further improved by employing blockchain technology, similar to that used by many crypto lotteries, where there is no centralized control.


Now, let’s talk about the more challenging aspect—ensuring the authenticity of the jackpot winner. Before the official draw, PCSO could publish a text file on its website containing information on how many bettors placed bets on each combination. This would ensure the existence of a genuine winner and prevent PCSO from creating fake bettors with the correct combinations after the official draw. Manipulating this process would be very challenging as PCSO cannot simply create a bettor for each combination without reflecting on their sales. They also cannot move sales from one game to another as that could create gaps where a bettor would not see his bet on the published file. In such a system, bettors should also be advised to always check whether their combination is included in the published files to help secure the system.

While it might be challenging for a mobile phone to open such a large file, various websites might find incentive in creating an online system where they will get the information files from PCSO’s website and let bettors easily check each combination on their websites with a search tool. These platforms could serve ads on such a tool, contributing to their revenue, while also helping secure the games.

In software development, the more eyes on a piece of code, the less likely that there will be security vulnerabilities. I believe the same principle applies to organizations like PCSO—the more scrutiny in every aspect of its operations, the less likely corrupt officials can exploit it.

Aldrin Zigmund Cortez Velasco,

software developer

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TAGS: Lottery, opinion, PCSO

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