What Are The Odds?

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Some people put in their ticket for Tattslotto every week, hoping that their numbers will come up for the first division jackpot. It is a great dream. I, too, have thought of what I might do with my winnings and thinking about how I may be able to maximize my chances. Being interested in mathematics, I think that I have worked out the actual probability of winning Division 1 in a Tattslotto draw, and I thought I’d like to share these with you:

There are 49 numbers: to win, you need to select the 6 that are drawn.

The probability of selecting one correct number is: 6/49 (there are 49 numbers, you just need to pick 1 from your 6 numbers).

The probability of selecting two correct numbers is: 6/49 x 5/48 = 30/2352 = 5/542. Therefore, if you pick the first correct number, there are now 48 numbers left in the draw and you have 5 chances of picking the next correct number.

The probability of selecting three correct numbers is: 6/49 x 5/48 x 4/47 = 120/25,471.

Continuing this calculation to the end gives you:  6/49 x 5/48 x 4/47 x 3/46 x 2/45 x 1/44 = 720/10,068,347,520 = 1/13,983,816.

Even if you buy 10 tickets each week, the odds are just: 1/1,398,382.

What does this actually mean, though? Well, if you were to buy 10 tickets a week, every week, it would take you 26,892 years for your numbers to come up! That works out to be about 384 lifetimes!

Putting this into perspective, the probability of getting struck by lightning is about: 1/11,000. That means that you are about 13,000 times more likely to be struck by lightning than you are to win Tattslotto.

I have an idea: send your money to me, and if I get struck by lightning, I will give you back 1,000 times what you gave me. The odds of you winning are much, much better than Tattslotto!

If there are any volunteers for this experiment, I can be contacted through St Kilda News.

By Iain McKenzie

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