Has a major lottery ever produced a result that doesn't look random?
November 6, 2014 1:03 PM   Subscribe

Every outcome in a fair lottery is equally probable, yet some results display obvious patterns and feel less likely to the statistically uninformed. Nobody would blink if a six-number lotto draw came up with (3,12,27,31,40,44), but a result of (1,2,3,4,5,6) would probably make the news. Has this ever happened in a major lottery? If yes, what was the public responce?
posted by Dr Dracator to Grab Bag (10 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
A January 2011 MegaMillions drawing matched 4 out of the 6 "Lost" numbers (Lost numbers: 4 8 15 16 23 42; MegaMillions: 4 8 15 25 47 plus Megaball 42). Result: a bunch of "weird news" pieces such as this one.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 1:11 PM on November 6, 2014 [3 favorites]

I know there were several stories, like this one, when some of the LOST numbers (4, 8, 15, 16, 23, 42) came up in a real lottery.
posted by BlahLaLa at 1:12 PM on November 6, 2014

The Bulgarian lottery in 2009 drew the same six numbers in two consecutive rounds. This demonstrated that some people will play (on purpose) with the last draw's outcome.
posted by thijsk at 2:05 PM on November 6, 2014 [2 favorites]

Here's another classic: 110 people won the Powerball when they played the numbers they'd gotten in a fortune cookie.
posted by lesli212 at 2:07 PM on November 6, 2014 [3 favorites]

There was a UK draw in 1995 when 133 winners shared a jackpot, very much not the norm, this article discusses some of the reasons for it.
posted by biffa at 4:11 PM on November 6, 2014

Best answer: On Sept. 11, 2002 the winning number in the NY state lottery was 9-1-1
posted by belladonna at 4:55 PM on November 6, 2014 [1 favorite]

After a 1958 train wreck in NJ:
'Front-page news photos showed the car hanging from the bridge, its number clearly marked as 932. That same number hit the next day in the numbers racket at 600-to-1 odds, according to newspaper reports at the time. The loss to the metropolitan numbers bank was estimated at $50 million. Many fled to avoid paying.'
Don't know about suspicions of shenanigans, but I'll bet there were some (suspicions).
posted by SallyHitMeOntheHead at 5:03 PM on November 6, 2014


posted by Jacen at 8:22 AM on November 7, 2014

Best answer: Oh haha, I was trying to find another instance I remembered, and it seems there's a whole website devoted to lottery stuff, including improbable lottery numbers. That's just one page of many; I didn't see a whole category or tag dedicated to only coincidences/improbable results, but probably a google site search would work.
posted by lesli212 at 10:40 AM on November 7, 2014

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