Israeli lottery: Same numbers come up twice at odds of four trillion to one

October 19, 2010 | by | 2 Comments

The Israeli national lottery has delivered a massive surprise after the same numbers came up for second time in a month – beating odds of four trillion to one.

Viewers watched in astonishment as number 36, 33, 32, 26, 14, 13 rolled out live on television – in the exact reverse order as the September 21 draw.

A staggering 92 people correctly guessed all six numbers to win £700 to £1,158 while a further three fortunate individuals guessed the 7th “strong number” and scooped £700,000

Haim Melamed, a statistical consultant for the national lottery, said: “There have been cases in the world in which people have won the lottery twice.

“In the United States there was an instance in which a man won three times but the odds of that happening are extremely slim.”

It’s not thought the same numbers have been drawn twice in the lottery before – but one 57-year-old American has had a brilliant year on the scratchcards.

Ernest Pullen, from Missouri, won $1 million in June and then scooped a further $2 million in September.

EuroMillions chiefs are currently looking for the lucky winner of the recent £113 million draw – with one pensioner claiming she bought the ticket with her husband throwing it away.

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  1. Ajprax says:

    This is bad math. Counter-intuitively, the odds of getting the same lottery numbers twice is actually equal to the odds of getting a particular set of lottery numbers once. Because the first set of numbers (those which will later be redrawn) can be anything, the odds of those particular numbers being drawn do not factor into the odds of a repeat. Simply, the odds of the first drawing yielding numbers (1/1) multiplied by the odds of those specific numbers occurring again (1/x depending on the possibilities in this particular lottery) equals 1/x, the same odds of winning the lottery once.

    • Gareth says:

      That is correct. The chance of the same numbers coming up on any two specific dates would be 1/x. However the chance that the numbers that come up today have come up before would be n/x, where n is the number of previous draws. If the lottery has been going for several years, once a week, n could be a few hundred.

      The chance that any two of the n draws to date would have given identical numbers is n(n-1)/2x. And then consider there are N (also a few hundred?) lotteries in the world. x depends on the lottery but is typically several million.

      A few hundered times a few hundred times a few hundred is several million. So it is not all that unlikely that this should have happened at some time, somwhere in the world.

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