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Lottery Mathematics in Detail

Everyone knows about the lottery, and many people can say they have bought at least one lottery ticket in their life. After all, who can resist the lure of millions being dangled in front of their face? Few, however, have ever really taken the time to work out the lottery mathematics. That is to say, few have ever worked out the odds of how likely it is to actually win the jackpot in a lottery game. Many will say they are aware that the odds are low, but never fully grasp exactly how low those odds are.

A basic lottery will require a player to select six numbers from forty nine, which will be printed on their lottery ticket. When draw time comes, a mechanical machine will select six numbers at random from the same pool of forty nine. Should the numbers selected by the machine match the player’s lottery ticket, they will have won. Of course, given that tens of thousands of people buy lottery tickets on a regular basis, and that the jackpot amount is often not won at all, a person begins to understand how unlikely it is to guess such a ridiculously broad range of numbers.

Lottery Mathematics

Given the factors of six numbers from forty nine, and given that the numbers may be in any order, and that there are many possible combinations of these numbers, one may do a bit of lottery mathematics and calculate that getting all six numbers right on any one occasion is about one in fourteen million. To be more specific, when the first number is selected, the calculation is one in forty nine.

After which a second number is selected, so the chances are one in forty nine times forty eight, given that only forty right numbers remain, and so on for all six numbers. After this calculation, one must factor in that the numbers may be in any order, and given that there seven hundred and twenty possible orders, the final odds are roughly one in fourteen million. Of course, one should also keep in mind that not all six numbers must be matched in order for payouts to be made, and just three numbers matching will payout something. And, of course, the odds of this happening are much higher.

United Kingdom Lottery Mathematics

In 2015 the United Kingdom lottery made a highly controversial decision that outraged many. The rules of the national lottery were changed, and instead of requiring players to select form forty nine numbers, made the lottery instead out of fifty nine numbers.

This move may not seem significant on the surface, adding just ten numbers, but the truth is that the odds of getting all six numbers rose so dramatically as to be more then double the previous odds. If one applies the above lottery mathematics formula to the new number, they will come to the conclusion that the odds of winning the United Kingdom lottery are now one in an astronomical forty five million. These odds are so low that a person is more likely to be in an aeroplane crash, which is extremely unlikely, after which they accidentally discover lost treasure at the location of the aeroplane’s crash site. This may sound like a joke, but is statistically true.