How to Win the Lottery With Math


The drawing of lots has long been a common method for determining ownership and other rights. It was used in ancient Rome to settle lawsuits and by medieval European royalty to allocate the king’s revenues. King James I of England created a lottery in 1612 to raise funds for his colony in America, and lotteries became popular throughout the world to fund towns, wars, colleges, public works projects and more.

Many people spend an astonishing $80 billion on lottery tickets each year. They do it out of fear that they might miss out on some life-changing opportunity, or they just love the tease of winning. But what if there was a way to improve your odds of winning, not just by playing more tickets but by making intelligent, mathematically correct choices?

That’s why you need a strategy. Fortunately, one exists, and it’s simple: Use math. Math helps you understand how a particular combinatorial pattern behaves over time, and it also lets you know when to play, when to skip, and how much to play for.

The most successful lotteries are those that are seen as benefiting a specific public good, such as education. These are often the ones that can attract the most public support, particularly in times of economic stress when state governments face pressures to increase taxes or cut public spending. This dynamic has fueled the growth of lottery revenues, but it also contributes to the sense that state governments are increasingly dependent on gambling revenue and vulnerable to future financial crises.