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Is the lottery rigged? And, if so, how?
A post by someone in another thread to the effect that the lottery is a tax on the mathematically challenged got me thinking about this as a thread topic.
Earlier this year, one of my coworkers was joking with me about my not playing the lottery ("you can't win if you don't play"). After pondering that for awhile, I decided to conduct a small experiment. So, over the next several weeks, I purchased 40 Powerball lottery tickets. For 20 of the tickets, I randomly chose the numbers myself; for the other 20, I let the machine randomly choose the numbers for me. For each of those two categories, I kept track of how many matching numbers occurred. What I found was that for the 20 tickets where I randomly chose the numbers (120 numbers total), 11 matches occurred (about 9.2%). For the 20 tickets where I let the machine randomly chose the numbers (again, 120 numbers total), 2 matches occurred (about 1.7%). I realize that 20 tickets isn't an overly large sample but it is large enough that the margin of error should be less than 7.5%. Also, given the amount of numbers on each ticket, the 9.2% result for when I randomly picked the numbers seems about right statistically and the 1.7% result for when the machine picked the numbers seems lower than expected statistically. Given the disparity I found for my small experiment, I begin to wonder if the lottery is rigged and, if so, how? 
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Something to think about, if the lotto is truly random (as I think it is), then the numbers1,2,3 4,5,6,7 has the exact same probability of winning as any other combination out there. Does anyone voluntarily pick that combo? Nope. So that just goes to show you how astronomical the odds are. I look at the lotto as voluntary taxation. 
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I have a friend that recently won a million dollars from the lottery but the odds of winning are worse than your chances of being struck by lightning just think bout all the people who in one month or whatever who buy tickets some like you buy 40 and then the numbers are randomly generated



Lottery should not be called a "tax, or voluntary tax"
If the odds of winning are say 290,000,000 to 1  they are still better odds than getting some return on your paid taxes which is: ZERO 
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My point was that when I let the lottery machine pick the numbers the outcome was significantly less favorable than when I picked the numbers by an independent method that I could be sure was actually random. And the unfavorable outcome was enough different from what I would statistically expect for a truly random system that it caused me to begin to wonder if the system is rigged. 


Maybe
I agree that the Lottery in itself is totally random but I don't think the computer is.
I think the Qucik Pick the computer generates is skewed. That's why when I get a ticket I get my number and a computer number. The best of both worlds. I have heard that most Jackpot winners let the computer pick the number. So I don't know. But knowing the government today I would not put it past them to bend the randomness of the computer numbers. The numbers are random but weighted one way. Like blowing on water drops; the drops will generally fall differently but still random, just pushed to one side a little. We will never know since we will never be allowed access to the computer other than when it prints out ticket. 


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I don't think it's rigged, "they" get all of their money no matter who wins  they tax it anyway. Have you seen the people who win... no pattern there. Again, no reason to rig how often people win  they tax it the same anyway. IMHO 
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Unfortunately, I doubt that they would make available the kind of data that would allow anyone to do any kind of statistical analysis related to how many 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th numbers of each set are correctly matched. 


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Moving on. If it were rigged, it would have to be rigged so the pot doesn't get too big (which takes time, may decrease revenue from ticket sales) but stays large enough to keep people playing. So, any rigging being done would logically force a win when the pot was within a certain size. As for picking the winners, the way the system is set up I don't think you could actually set up somebody beforehand and say, "HE IS THE WINNER." There are far too many variables and security checks (very simple ones, but effective) in place. That, and, even if your plan is working there's always the chance that you might not even succeed out of sheer bad luck. 
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For the Powerball lottery you pick 5 numbers from 1  59 and 1 Powerball number from 1  39. So for the 5 numbers the probabilities of picking a correct number are 1/59, 1/58, 1/57, 1/56 and 1/55; for the Powerball number, the probability of picking a correct number is 1/39. ((1/59 + 1/58 +1/57+ 1/56 + 1/55 + 1/39) / 6) * 100 = (approx) 1.9%. So, for each number picked, the probability on average of a match is about 1.9%. Having computed that just now, I see that the matches for numbers picked by the machine are closer to the probability I would expect to see, and the matches for numbers I picked are the outlier. In other words, I see that my interpretation of my results was a bit careless (gasp! I made an unchecked assumption). In view of that, I guess I may need to think a bit more about what the result of my little experiment means because I had apparently been making a wrong assumption about which result was the outlier. 


If you go down to the bookies to put a bet on a nag, you can do so right up to before the race starts, but the lottery closes half an hour before they do the draw, why is that? is it because they have all the numbers chosen by the punters on a database and can process them to find a group of numbers that very few people have bet on and then ensure those are the ones picked, thereby minimising the amount they have to pay out? I'm not saying that they do this but it does make you wonder about the closure time and the delay, before the draw is run........



I had an economics professor that once explained the lottery in the best description Ive ever heard. She said that "the lottery was a tax on stupidity."
Most people think that if they buy a ticket and the odds are 1 in 300 million its bad, but the way most people think is if they buy 2 tickets they now have 1 in 150 million odd which is better, and then if they buy 100 tickets that they have 1 in 3 million odds which is even better, but that isnt the way it works. If you buy 100 tickets your odds are only 100 in 300 million, and those odds are still horrible. 


I don't know about all the odds, but i figure they are rediculessly high
However, let me tell you a true story. A man in Medina Ohio hit 4 million in 1984. Then he hit for 4 more million in 1993. Then yet again in 2007 for 12 million What is the odds of that? 


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You might as well put a stack of one dollar bills next to your toilet. At least you'll get some use out of them. 


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I've got 15 years as an auditor in the Lottery industry. I can tell you that the drawings are as random as we can make them unless there is criminal fraud involved in which case we WANT to prosecute. There is no more or less revenue to the Lottery regarding what numbers come up so there is no incentive to skew them. All the statistics as to what numbers have been drawn and how frequently are out there if you want them. Your sample is too small to show it but if you play the game with 50% pay out 100,000,000 times at $1 per bet, you will get back 50,000,000 dollars. The odds are that you will lose half your money over time. The more you play the closer you get to that, whether the first ticket is a million dollar winner or a loser.

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I live in Upstate NY Finger Lakes Region. I know someone who owns a grocery store in one of our towns. I heard about alot of his customers winning big prizes on the scratch off tickets so one day I asked him how his store got so lucky. He laughed and said "luck had nothing to do with it, I pay extra to the lottery commission to have big winning tickets brought into the store". I just kinda looked at him like oh ok sure you do. Two months later his wife bought a scratch off in their store and won $30,000. Don't know if it's true what he said but I've known the guy most my life and have never had him lie before so my way of thinking is if that's true then the regular lotto is probably rigged too. I stopped playing after that as I refuse to give the guberment anymore of my money then it already gets.



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