Thursday, March 20, 2008

Weird Lotto outcome


What a bummer of a Lotto 6/49 outcome! Nobody won the big prize which isn't unusual. But the next biggest prize (ordinarily) for 5 out of 6 matches plus a matching bonus number had a whopping 240 winning tickets (120 in Ontario alone) each receiving a measly $1200 (typically 2 or 3 players win around $100,000 each). Adding insult to injury, players who had 5 out of 6 matching numbers with no matching bonus number won nearly twice as much ($2200 each).
Now you really can't feel sorry for anyone who plays a lottery and wins $1200 on a $2 bet but winning a prize that's about 1/100th of the typical payout would be just a little irksome.
Update (21 Mar): A Lotto retailer informs me that the reason for this outcome is that many players pick consecutive number sequences as a 'strategy' for winning. For example they'll pick a set of numbers in the 1 - 10 range and/or the 20 to 29 range, and so on. In this case players across the country bought 240 tickets (out of more than 5 million) in the 40 to 45 range which matched 5 of the 6 (plus bonus) numbers drawn. The odds of this happening were about 1 in 2.3 million. This seems like a reasonable explanation for an otherwise bizarre outcome.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Stranger still is the result of a 6 number consecutive run of 40 through 45.... and that sooooo many people would wager that it would happen

JR said...

Yes, it makes one think there's some hanky-panky afoot. Or, maybe the 'winners' all subscribe to the same psychic service - and it got lucky for once.

Anonymous said...

Which numbers you choose are COMPLETELY irrelovent. The probability of 1 2 3 4 5 6 B: 7 coming up are the EXACT same as and 6 random numbers you choose. People are stupid with superstition thinking that it would not be.

P.S. The numbers on the screen are ranked in order from lowest to highest, they were not necissaily pulled in that order, just in case you wer wondering. The probability is subjet to choosing and not to permutation.

JR said...

Anon2 is correct. Assuming the game is fair (ie. Lotto Corp employees haven't rigged the game somehow)all selected sequences are equally likely to win. Nevertheless, many people do play various 'strategies' trying to gain an edge. They delude themselves. See post update.