View Full Version : Lottery Oddity
18th Dec 2010, 18:26
On October 18th, The Telegraph (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/middleeast/israel/8070751/Israel-lottery-draws-same-numbers-as-three-weeks-before.html) reported:
"Israel's weekly state lottery draw at the weekend drew exactly the same six numbers as the draw 3 weeks earlier – an event statisticians said was a one in four trillion chance."
Presumably even less likely was the sequence in which the emerged - in exact reverse order (http://www.worldlottery.net/news/israel-lottery-sees-repeat-number-fluke.asp) to the original!
Unsurprisingly, the integrity of the draw was questioned. Dr Chaim Melamed of the Israeli national lottery company responded (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/middleeast/israel/8070751/Israel-lottery-draws-same-numbers-as-three-weeks-before.html):
"We are in the business of luck, and when it comes to chances and probabilities anything is possible, even the rare and infrequent, like in this case."
I wonder: if lottery draw machines are 100% random number generators, how can there be a less-likely result on any given draw? Should we suppose that the Universe memorises the results and influences subsequent draws accordingly? Is our determination of less-likely results just a quirk of our reasoning?
The Key To The Lottery:)
As the future does not exist (see dazdaz1 (http://www.pprune.org/jet-blast/436415-time.html#post6116360) and Julian Barbour (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Julian_Barbour)), trying to predict a lottery draw is pointless.
A better method may be to pick any old numbers, or at least an undrawn lot, then seek to influence the draw. By fair means, naturally.
Work by the Princeton Engineering Anomalies Research program (http://www.princeton.edu/%7Epear/experiments.html) shows that this is possible:
"The most substantial portion of the PEAR experimental program examined anomalies arising in human/machine interactions.
"In these studies human operators attempted to bias the output of a variety of mechanical, electronic, optical, acoustical, and fluid devices to conform to pre-stated intentions, without recourse to any known physical influences. In unattended calibrations all of these sophisticated machines produced strictly random data, yet the experimental results display increases in information content that can only be attributed to the consciousness of their human operators."
18th Dec 2010, 19:21
An inquiry was launched into the bulgarian lottery after the same six numbers were drawn in consecutive draws on the 6th and 10th sept 2009.
18th Dec 2010, 20:08
Apparently the numbers 1,2,3,4,5 and 6 are as likely to come out as any other so repeating the same numbers follows the same principle. It is a lottery after all.
There are ways of maximising your chances should a several numbers from a sequence you pick comes up. I managed it once when they offered a hundred quid for four numbers. I spent about twenty Euro covering a range of numbers and got lucky.
There was a famous coup in the old Irish 36 number lottery when someone realised that when the jackpot reached a certain amount you could cover all the possible combinations. He got a syndicate together. On the day the lottery people tried to stop them out by shutting down terminals showing abnormal activity. But they won anyway even though they couldn't cover all the combinations. Nice one!
A A Gruntpuddock
18th Dec 2010, 20:12
I recall a statistics lecture on chance which said the the chances of drawing any number from a group is the same each time, i.e. it is unaffected by what has happened previously, just as which way up a penny will land.
Every combination of numbers has the same chance of being drawn as any other combination, each and every time, i.e.1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 has exactly the same chance of coming up as 11, 23, 34, 39, 41, 49.
So each combination has the same chance of coming up even if it was the last combination drawn.
Only if you recorded several million draws could you get an indication as to whether the system might be biased in some way. Anything else is just coincidence.
18th Dec 2010, 22:02
Anything else is just coincidence.
Only if the selection method is truly random.
The House can bias roulette wheels, or poker machine reels, to their favour, not definitively of course, but enough to make it worth their while more times than just by chance.
I trust no one these days.
If I ever win a jackpot, ( one has to buy a ticket first, of course ) I'll give a Policeman a couple of quid to accompany me to a ticket checking outlet, wouldn't pass my ticket over to some spotty youf without a witness !
Wot - paranoid, Moi ?
Work by the Princeton Engineering Anomalies Research program shows that this is possible
Well, PEAR said it was possible. Other experts thought that the tiny statistical variations the PEAR program claimed (of the order of 2-3 per 10,000) could have had causes other than 'human will'.
Only if you recorded several million draws could you get an indication as to whether the system might be biased in some way.
That's exactly what the PEAR program tried to do. Their results showed a tiny 'bias'. Their problem was that they couldn't prove the source of it.
As to the chance of numbers or sequences of numbers occurring again etc, consider that the ball or whatever doesn't know what number it is, and that the chance of any ball being picked is the same as any other.
19th Dec 2010, 01:28
When I first saw this, I was reminded of a story I heard about the New York Lottery that on September 11, 2001, the numbers came up as 911.
Even though I have heard it from several sources, I'll do a Snopes on that.
19th Dec 2010, 08:30
I reckon that if the numbers from week A are drawn in reverse in week B, then, SURELY, the week A winner should return their winnings.
Unless they aren't called Surely.
19th Dec 2010, 11:14
I have saved over £1500 since I stopped doing the Lottery.
And I'm very happy to report that MY numbers never came up.
(That's a relief!).
Thick Blue Line
19th Dec 2010, 12:17
If I remember correctly, it all depends on exactly what outcome you want to predict the odds of.
The probability of any six numbers being drawn in one particular draw is odds of one in however many combinations of numbers there are. This would be the same odds for any sequence of numbers being predicted in any individual draw.
However, if you want to calculate the odds that two specific sequences of numbers will be drawn in two consecutive draws then the odds are longer since you have specified two draws.
Just can't remember if you add the odds of the probability for one draw to the other or multiply them . . .
Im sure someone more cleverer can help . . .
19th Dec 2010, 15:51
TBL. It's first set of odds * second set of odds. So if both are a million to one the odds against both occurring are 1 million * 1 million = 1 (proper) billion to one.
One thing is though in the 'bonus ball' swindle at my local a lot of people won't have the number that came up[ the previous week because "it's thousands to one" against the same number happening twice. They just won't accept that the odds on the second week are still 49:1 and that the 'thousands to 1' is against forecasting a particular number for two weeks in succession in advance of both weeks (2401:1 as it happens).
Sir George Cayley
19th Dec 2010, 15:52
When the lottery in the UK was still a novelty, and VHS video recorders plentiful, a neat trick could be played on the gullible. It went like this.
Note last weeks winning 6 numbers.
Find unsuspecting family member who didn't watch that week.
Buy them a ticket for next weeks lottery using the same numbers.
Make sure you've recorded last weeks show.
At the next family gathering press play on the recorder whilst the victim is distracted.
The sit back and wait as the numbers start matching :E
19th Dec 2010, 16:18
Sir George Cayley lecture: 'How to remove a video recorder from one's throat'.
19th Dec 2010, 17:08
Reliable randomness: thanks to corsair, A A Gruntpuddock, RJM, Thick Blue Line, MadsDad for confirmations.
Thus the statisticians' quote of 'a one in four trillion chance' is groundless.
RJM: Other experts thought that the tiny statistical variations the PEAR program claimed (of the order of 2-3 per 10,000) could have had causes other than 'human will'.
Thanks for clearing that up. I'd have expected better transparency in pronouncements from such a reputable organ as Princeton!
20th Dec 2010, 14:03
purplehelmet wrote: An inquiry was launched into the bulgarian lottery after the same six numbers were drawn in consecutive draws on the 6th and 10th sept 2009.
Herewith some links to this (extraordinary event):
1) BBC (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/8259801.stm)
2) Pokerati (http://pokerati.com/2009/09/18/what-are-the-odds-is-the-bulgarian-lottery-rigged/)
What is especially extraordinary, is that they didn't even bother to somehow camouflage their activities - whoever was "at the wheel" was obviously asleep or otherwise preoccupied to have let that "draw" go through...?! Bulgaria, unless I'm mistaken, is one of the most corrupt states within the EU, in case anyone needs reminding.
Other EU countries with lotteries at least "go through all the motions". A few, or even most of the winnings may end up in the coffers of governments and/or various political parties struggling to raise funds for their electoral campaigns, ever since raising funds "legitimately" became a problem in most modern European countries. Whereas a French mayor of a large city might once have been able to "rake off" 10% or more of the value of contracts awarded to contractors' services to the city, in return for party-funding (it's called something else in USA I believe), today, that route is fraught with dangers...
And all the more surprising therefore, is the propensity most recently, of UK residents to somehow scoop up most of the EuroMillions jackpots. I understand that, unlike other countries, such as France, where the government's share of the lottery stakes just go into the "general pot", in the UK, these are designated to some form of "good works" fund. Presumably some of this at least will be used towards the 2012 Olympics?
Organisers of the Delhi Commonwealth Games have been arrested on charges of swindling millions of dollars before the October event. (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-south-asia-12035906) Ways and means. Perhaps we should have a committee?
How do the Israelis get away with it though? Simple, just by delivering a few more building permits for settlements in the disputed zones. I'm just guessin'...
20th Dec 2010, 14:34
Having the same six numbers come up is exactly the same as what the lottery winner must accomplish.
...and what about those weeks when there are more than one winner? Two or more people choosing exactly the same numbers as the lottery machine? Pah! It must be a fiddle. ;)
20th Dec 2010, 14:37
Sounds to me a bit like :
"This is Radio Pakistan. Here are the results of tomorrow's cricket fixture! "
20th Dec 2010, 15:02
"This is Radio Pakistan. Here are the results of tomorrow's cricket fixture! " :ok: Only that significant "others" were already aware the day before...yesterday :O
20th Dec 2010, 15:21
The interesting thing about lotteries is that, cheating aside, they are random. However the way people pick numbers is far from random. That's why you would get several people winning one week and no one the next. People tend to pick low numbers, birthdays etc. When high numbers come out there is a correspondingly lower number of winners. Also people always use patterns, so when faced with a lottery slip they make a pattern, spread the numbers out.
Apparently when the day arrives that the numbers 5,10, 15, 20, 25, 30 come out. There will be multiple winners.
So when I do the lottery I pick high numbers, not to increase my chances of winning but for the time when :ok: I win. I won't have to share with anyone else. More to the point, smaller prizes pay more with higher numbers. Something which came good this time last year when I won €1500. I was one random number away from millionaire status.
I never understand why some people absolutely refuse to do the lottery ever. The fact is that somebody wins every week. It may be a lottery but right now, someone, somewhere is unsuspectingly going about their business completely unaware they are about to have their money problems solved for good.
The thing to remember though is right now everyone with a lottery ticket could be that person. Fate has nothing to do with it. Just mere chance. That's why I often get one.
20th Dec 2010, 15:49
Corsair, to add to the 5, 10, 15 etc. I did hear a lottery spokesperson say once that if the lottery numbers happened to be 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6 there would (on an average week) be something in excess of 8,000 winners.
20th Dec 2010, 19:56
Mads Dad, I've heard that as well, and I bet there are plenty of people who will put down the last draws numbers as well. It must happen sometime.
Corsair, I had the good fortune to win on 5 numbers many years ago and got around £1500 for it. My missing No. was 4, and when I saw a 4 as the bonus ball I was shaking like a leaf, until I noticed it was 42.
My brother has also won on 5 numbers and only got £183.(the jammy sod also got 4 numbers the next week, £168 and 3 after that, £10) His misfortune was that the winning numbers were almost in a straight line down the entry slip. While he was pee'd off at that, spare a thought for the 113 people who won that week and only received just over £100K each, IIRC.
20th Dec 2010, 21:23
How does the 'bonus ball' work?
21st Dec 2010, 03:31
Had a somewhat sloshed conversation about this with a colleague at a Xmas lunch yesterday, would be interested in thoughts. Perhaps someone can even crunch the numbers cause lord knows i cant.
Within the next week, there is a Saturday Superdraw for our standard Lotto which is $AUD31M.
There are 6 standard numbers and 2 supplementary numbers drawn from a total of 45 numbers (no powerball or the like).
At a maximum, you can play a 18 numbers in one particular game for a total of $10,710.
But you only need the 6 standard numbers for a share of Div 1 ($31m), additionally if you get 5 and one of the supp's (or 4 and 2) there is more money to be had - we didnt go that far in our discussion.
Here was my argument, given that there are syndicates out there which claim to cover the numbers, how hard would it be?
I know that the syndicate members would not win heaps, but i believe thats not the point, the syndicate system as i believe it, says "we will guarantee you a win, but not a massive one".
I.e. A Syndicate with 300 members covers all the combinations at a cost of $4,000 per member but with a guarantee of $6,400 return to each member (as an example).
In general theory am i right or is my math flawed? My colleague could not see my point of view to save herself.
21st Dec 2010, 09:54
How does the 'bonus ball' work? You have a sheet with the numbers 1 - 49 on it. Sell the numbers (usually £1 each) and whoever picked the number that is that weeks bonus ball (usually on the Saturday draw) wins the pot.
If all the numbers aren't sold and no-one has the number the pot is rolled on to the next week *.
My local runs one for every Saturday, prize is £45 and the remaining £4 goes to charity.
(* where I caused the introduction of a 'maximum two numbers' rule in my local after the first time it happened when I said I would buy all the numbers on the roll-over. Prize for roll-over week was £87 (£45 + £42 roll-over) guaranteed for a £49 outlay. Sounded like a bargain to me).
21st Dec 2010, 11:45
...right now, someone, somewhere is unsuspectingly going about their business completely unaware they are about to have their money problems solved for good.Right now there are several people unsuspectingly going about their usual business who are completely unaware that they would have had all their money problems solved for good - if they had bothered to check their ticket. :ooh:
21st Dec 2010, 14:16
How does the 'bonus ball' work?
You pick six numbers, if you get all six, jackpot, tell boss to shove his job.
There are also prizes for 5, 4 and 3 numbers from the six drawn numbers.
When I say six drawn numbers, there are six numbers from 1-49 drawn. However a 7th number is also drawn, the bonus ball. If you have 5 of the drawn numbers,and the bonus ball as your six selections, mini jackpot.
5 Numbers is usually good for around £1500, but it can go a lot higher or lower.
5 numbers and bonus is usually worth over £100K, but you will have to consider your own cicumstances, before requesting a meeting with your boss.:)
21st Dec 2010, 15:16
Right now there are several people unsuspectingly going about their usual business who are completely unaware that they would have had all their money problems solved for good - if they had bothered to check their ticket.I remember once someone did just that. Bought the ticket in the same shop on the same day as me. You have no idea how often I checked my ticket hoping I had made a mistake when checking it.:*
Corsair, I had the good fortune to win on 5 numbers many years ago and got around £1500 for it. My missing No. was 4, and when I saw a 4 as the bonus ball I was shaking like a leaf, until I noticed it was 42That must have been quite a moment. When I won I didn't check the numbers but scanned the ticket in the shop. Up popped up €1530. After a double take to make sure it wasn't 150000. I went away fantasising about how I would react if it was the jackpot. To give you an idea how random winning is. I picked the numbers without wearing my glasses so had no idea what they were.
If you want another way to check how random lottery numbers are. On the Irish lotto website and I imagine one or two others, is the facility to check six numbers going back to the first draw. Depressingly after numerous attempts using random or favourite numbers. I never hit on a jackpot going back to 1994.
Which amply demonstrates the odds. But then again, people do win.
21st Dec 2010, 16:36
But then again, people do win.
But which people win? What jackpot winner of the EuroMillions or a national lottery voluntarily accepts to be identified (when given the choice to be or not to be)...?
I remember in the very early days just after the French FDJ (who run the loto and until just recently had a monopoly on all "games of chance" in France) and it became possible to play online instead of having to go into a retail outlet, they made a big splash over several weeks concerning one of the 1st punters (not me) who played online and won over €1 million. That's going back 4-5 years. So either noone playing online has since won more than this and/or noone playing online has yet to win anything like that 1st punter...?!
Democracy cannot work without a free press. Similarly, games of chance like the loto, cannot work without punters knowing for certain that someone (an individual who can be identified, preferably with confirmation from a free press after suitable investigation) is truly winning.
For all I know, that Irish lady who scooped up over €115m in the Euromillions jackpot in 2005 was a complete invention of the Irish government and/or persons unknown. OK, that would make more sense if Ms. McNamara had won it in 2008/9, when the Irish economy was truly under threat and €115m suddenly became an important sum. And even if you're truly convinced that the jackpot winners (Ie. 1st level winners) are all real individuals, can you really say the same for the many more numerous winners of 2nd and 3rd level prizes. Only, I've yet to see any newspaper report that so-and-so won €100k at the 2nd level together with another 8-10 punters. Or that so-and-so won €8k at the 3rd level together with another 80-100 punters.
What really bothers me is that those who actually run all the lotteries must know that the individual punter's rights to privacy obviously clash with their own interests in properly promoting their wares. Yet they do not complain very much. Understandable I guess, since the governments that issued their licences are usually also significant if not major share-holders of these enterprises and obtain significant tax-revenues from their operations.
When the EU severely-fined European lift (elevator) manufacturers for operating a cartel (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/business/6383913.stm) in 2007, there was no mention of whether or not any public authorities in any of the EU states affected may somehow have contributed to the state of affairs by perhaps requiring kick-backs in various forms on their contracts with lift manufacturers or service companies.
I fear that there is far too much money involved in European national lotteries, EuroMillions etc. for there not to have been any major scandal, suspected fraudulent activities or indeed actual proof of fraudulent activity, at least over the past 10 years or so. Not a whiff in fact.
By all means, play the loto or whatever takes your fancy "in moderation" as per the advice of the companies involved. I do. In the hope that I may yet win a substantial amount, in spite of all the crooked politicians etc. And when I eventually win, I've already developed a suitable explanation for my new riches - "all I did was to donate (50%) of a small windfall to the election campaigns of both my least abhorrent local politician and his direct opposition (25%+25%)". Shortly after which, I incorporated a new company specialising in local public-authority contracts and services. Post-election, business has never been so good...