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**mathsyperson****Moderator**- Registered: 2005-06-22
- Posts: 4,900

I'm not sure that this is the most appropriate place to post this, but I couldn't think of anywhere that it definitely fitted into so I just put it here.

Anyway, I've been thinking and I think I've found a way to definitely win the lottery. I highly doubt that it actually works, so I'm posting it here to see if anyone can find the flaw that is almost certainly hiding in it.

There are just under 14 million different combinations for the lottery results. (49C6 = 13,983,816).

So that means that if you buy a ticket for every single combination, then you're guaranteed to have one that matches all 6 balls and so win the jackpot.

That in itself isn't too special, because you're spending £14million and only getting back around £7million-ish, depending on what the jackpot was that week.

BUT, you also have lots and lots of other winning tickets. 6 tickets will match 5 and the bonus ball. If my calculations are right, you will have 252 tickets that match 5 numbers. And you will also have lots and lots that match 4 and 3 numbers.

So by combining all your winning tickets together, you might well be able to get more than the £14million than you used to pay for them. Especially if you waited until a triple rollover week or something.

Of course, you need to be a multi-millionnaire in the first place to be able to do this, but supposing you were, would the plan actually work?

Why did the vector cross the road?

It wanted to be normal.

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**Devantè****Real Member**- Registered: 2006-07-14
- Posts: 6,400

I'm guessing that it would work. There have been many pages and PDFs on the lottery, how to cheat it, etc., and how to use probability.

Thing is, you could probably earn more by collecting interest from that money.

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**Ricky****Moderator**- Registered: 2005-12-04
- Posts: 3,791

If two or more people win the lottery, they split the prize money. You have to assume no one else will win.

"In the real world, this would be a problem. But in mathematics, we can just define a place where this problem doesn't exist. So we'll go ahead and do that now..."

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**mathsyperson****Moderator**- Registered: 2005-06-22
- Posts: 4,900

Ah, of course. And the same would apply to all of your tickets. You've got 6 tickets with 5 balls and the bonus, but you still just get one prize, just split 6 ways.

Fair enough then. I knew there'd be some reason why it didn't work.

Why did the vector cross the road?

It wanted to be normal.

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**MathsIsFun****Administrator**- Registered: 2005-01-21
- Posts: 7,685

I think that it is mathematically profitable to buy tickets if there is a reasonably sized jackpot.

Jackpots attract more sales, but if you divide Prize/Sales, there will be times when it is greater than 1.

"The physicists defer only to mathematicians, and the mathematicians defer only to God ..." - Leon M. Lederman

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**pi man****Member**- Registered: 2006-07-06
- Posts: 251

Plus you have to have the cooperation of whoever runs the lottery. Or a lot of people helping you. If you could purchase 5 tickets every second, it would take 32 full days to purchase all 14M tickets!

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**pi man****Member**- Registered: 2006-07-06
- Posts: 251

I thought about the same thing Mathsperson so I did a little more research. Here in the United States we have several multistate lotteries. The top prize grows each time there is a drawing with no winner. I believe the largest jackpot ever was $340M (million US dollars). The odds of picking the winning combination of numbers is over 146 million to one! Sounds like a good deal in this case where they're paying $340M for odds that are only 146M to 1.

But the jackpot prize is paid over 30 years. Or you can just take the cash equivalent lump sum right away. For the $340 million, that drops the prize to $165 million. Then you have to pay taxes and now you're down to $110 million. If you bought every ticket possible, you would also have another $29 million worth of non-jackpot winning tickets. That's around $20 million after taxes. So you would have buy 146 million to win 130 million. And you better hope that you had the ONLY jackpot winning ticket!

Is your lottery paid in a lump sum or over so many years? Is it taxable?

reference: www.cnn.com/2005/US/11/08/powerball/index.html?eref=sitesearch

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**mathsyperson****Moderator**- Registered: 2005-06-22
- Posts: 4,900

I'm pretty sure the British lottery money is paid all at once. I wouldn't know, having not ever won, but from the newspaper stories saying how someone won the lottery and then spent all the money in a week and is now suing lots of people because he wants his money back, or some equal instance of stupidity, I would assume that all the money is paid at once.

And I know that the money is definitely tax-free. That's one of their main selling points.

Why did the vector cross the road?

It wanted to be normal.

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**mikau****Member**- Registered: 2005-08-22
- Posts: 1,504

funny, I was about to post something similar to this.

My sister often plays the pennsylvannia play 3 lottery. A dollar a ticket, 40 dollar prize for a matched combination, about 400 for an exact match. At only one dollar a ticket, I wonder it there's a set of combinations you could play such that you'd win the 40 dollar prize enough to make more then what you spent on tickets.

But my bet is lottery companies have done the math (or payed someone to do it) and made absolutely certain that the odds are always in their favor.

A logarithm is just a misspelled algorithm.

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**mathsyperson****Moderator**- Registered: 2005-06-22
- Posts: 4,900

That's not necessarily true. While the lottery companies will undoubtedly gain money overall, there could be times when they lose money on individual weeks.

It's similar to how Ricky disproved my theory. If you were the only person ever to buy lottery tickets, then you could buy 14 million of them and guarantee that you would win. **But**, other people buy tickets as well, and the prize fund doesn't go up. Any winners share the money, which means the lottery company doesn't have to give away anything else.

They're relying on enough people buying tickets for the prizemoney to fund itself, which means that they can theoretically afford to let the odds technically be in your favour a bit.

Why did the vector cross the road?

It wanted to be normal.

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**simron****Real Member**- Registered: 2006-10-07
- Posts: 237

Hold on- I've heard that sometimes nobody wins.

Linux FTW

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**mathsyperson****Moderator**- Registered: 2005-06-22
- Posts: 4,900

When nobody wins, then the prizemoney gets carried over to the next week's draw. So, someone will always win the jackpot for every week, it's just that a certain week's jackpot might not get won on its own week. If that makes any sense.

Why did the vector cross the road?

It wanted to be normal.

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**simron****Real Member**- Registered: 2006-10-07
- Posts: 237

Oh. The only other thing that could stand in one's way is the way it's played. I'm most familiar with the Colorado Lottery, and unless you are either speaking for all of them, or you are not familair with all of the rules. I guess this is a time to hit the websites and books HARD.

Linux FTW

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**mikau****Member**- Registered: 2005-08-22
- Posts: 1,504

Incidently my sister just won the play three lottery! the winning number was "111". Thats a one in a thousand chance!

Hopefully she'll buy that video camera we've been wanting to get...

A logarithm is just a misspelled algorithm.

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**vipaman****Member**- Registered: 2006-09-30
- Posts: 22

cool i will try it out.

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**Anthony.R.Brown****Banned**- Registered: 2006-11-16
- Posts: 516

Hi if you think you have a Chance with the "lottery!" 6/49

Place 49 Balls in a bag! and remove any six! then replace the six! and remove any six again!

do this every day for as long as you like!! and see how many times you get 6 correct!

this will save you real Money!

A.R.B

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**MathsIsFun****Administrator**- Registered: 2005-01-21
- Posts: 7,685

Absolutely Agree.

I think I shall write a program for this ... we can all choose numbers and have a daily draw. Maybe we can bet with Imaginary Numbers?

"The physicists defer only to mathematicians, and the mathematicians defer only to God ..." - Leon M. Lederman

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**Anthony.R.Brown****Banned**- Registered: 2006-11-16
- Posts: 516

To MathsIsFun

Quote:

"I think I shall write a program for this ... we can all choose numbers and have a daily draw. Maybe we can bet with Imaginary Numbers?"

A.R.B

No let's bet with Imaginary Money! that way when everyone who does not quite understand!,See's how much Money they would have Lost,may then stop pestering their parents! for Money to put on the lottery!

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**mathsyperson****Moderator**- Registered: 2005-06-22
- Posts: 4,900

I think the main reason that people play the lottery is that £1 per week is a very small spend for someone who has a reasonable salary, so they hardly notice that it's not there and it's not a huge loss for them. However, they certainly would notice if they suddenly became a multi-millionnaire.

Why did the vector cross the road?

It wanted to be normal.

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**Anthony.R.Brown****Banned**- Registered: 2006-11-16
- Posts: 516

To mathsyperson

Quote: "I think the main reason that people play the lottery is that £1 per week is a very small spend for someone who has a reasonable salary, so they hardly notice that it's not there and it's not a huge loss for them. However, they certainly would notice if they suddenly became a multi-millionnaire."

A.R.B

I heard of someone who done this 14 million times! they could have saved the Money! equivalent to winning the Lottery

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**simron****Real Member**- Registered: 2006-10-07
- Posts: 237

Of course, we're hoping that the jackpot is over how much you paid for it. It would be just a waste of money to do it when the jackpot is under 13 million.

Also, on post #3, I heard that if two or more people win the lottery, the jackpot is split between the people who won. Could you have 2 lottery tickets be the same and then not have the winning lottery ticket if you only bought the bare minimum to win?

*Last edited by simron (2007-05-21 07:52:15)*

Linux FTW

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**Sekky****Member**- Registered: 2007-01-12
- Posts: 181

Anthony.R.Brown wrote:

To mathsyperson

Quote: "I think the main reason that people play the lottery is that

£1 per weekis a very small spend for someone who has a reasonable salary, so they hardly notice that it's not there and it's not a huge loss for them. However, they certainly would notice if they suddenly became a multi-millionnaire."A.R.B

I heard of someone who done this 14 million times! they could have saved the Money! equivalent to winning the Lottery

You know somebody who is two-hundred-and-seventy thousand years old?

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**Anthony.R.Brown****Banned**- Registered: 2006-11-16
- Posts: 516

Quote: " You know somebody who is two-hundred-and-seventy thousand years old? "

A.R.B

I know an Adult? who is a Child!

I also heard of someone who done this 14 million times! in one week!!....................................

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**Sekky****Member**- Registered: 2007-01-12
- Posts: 181

Anthony.R.Brown wrote:

I also heard of someone who done this 14 million times! in one week!!....................................

It can't be done, and if it had been, it will be documented somewhere, so link or it didn't happen.

You're full of it.

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**Anthony.R.Brown****Banned**- Registered: 2006-11-16
- Posts: 516

Quote:" You're full of it. "

A.R.B

I have to Humour the less able minded! if they cant see in front of their own Nose!...........

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