Written by : Lin Xuan & Gail Murzello
What exactly is a lottery?
Many people dream of being given a large sum of money without having to work for it, and lottery tickets, which promise the chance to win millions of dollars, are a common way to try and achieve this. These tickets are relatively inexpensive and are sold all over the world, with prices ranging from $1 in Singapore and the United States to $2.50 in Europe. The concept of the lottery is similar in many countries, and it provides an affordable way for people to potentially win a large sum of money.
How is it played?
For those who are unfamiliar with the concept, a lottery is a type of gambling that involves drawing random numbers for a prize. In Singapore, the Toto lottery is the second most popular form of gambling after 4-Digits. To play, a buyer selects at least six numbers between 1 and 49, and the winning numbers are chosen by drawing six numbers plus an additional number. The maximum number of matching numbers is seven, which can only occur if the person purchased a ticket of system 7 or above. If six numbers on a Toto ticket match the six numbers drawn, excluding the additional number, the person wins the jackpot prize.
The Math behind it
It is important to understand the chances of winning the lottery, which can be calculated using mathematics. If there were only two numbers to match, there would be 49 x 48 = 2,352 possible outcomes, resulting in a 1/2,352 chance of winning. However, since six numbers between 1 and 49 are required, the total number of possible outcomes is 49 x 48 x 47 x 46 x 45 x 44, which is equivalent to 49!/(49-6)!. This results in a 1 in 10,068,347,520 chance of winning, but since any combination of six numbers can be considered the winning number, there are 720 possible orders in which they can be drawn. This reduces the chance of winning to 1 in 13,983,816, which is still relatively low.
To put this in perspective, the chances of winning the lottery are much lower than the chances of dating a supermodel, winning an Oscar, becoming an Olympic athlete, being struck by lightning, or being crushed by a meteorite. Therefore, if the slim chance of winning the lottery does not appeal to you, it may be better to save your money and invest it in something else.
For more readings: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lottery_mathematics#:~:text=Lottery%20mathematics%2 0is%20used%20to,way%20and%20combinations%20without%20replacement.