Very Long Odds in the Israeli Lottery

A funny thing happened in Israel last week. The winning state lottery numbers were the same as the numbers drawn three weeks earlier. Lottery officials denied allegations of rigging: “We are in the business of luck, and when it comes to chances and probabilities anything is possible, even the rare and infrequent, like in this case,” said Dr. Chaim Melamed, the statistics expert for the national lottery company. An examination of the machines and lottery balls revealed no irregularities. Yitzhak Melechson, a statistics professor at the University of Tel Aviv, said that “the incident of six numbers repeating themselves within a month is an event of once in 10,000 years.” [%comments]

c. hdz

Did you read the blog of Christian Robert about this same event?


Lauren H

"Perhaps we vote in the same spirit in which we buy lottery tickets. After all, your chances of winning the lottery and of affecting an election are pretty similar." (239-240)

With this passage from Freakonomics and this blog post, it can be said that though chances are slim, they could still very well occur; why not just try anyways?

Marian M

It is a certainty that highly improbable events will occur, and in the event that none do, is a highly improbable event in itself. So, there is no escaping highly improbably events. People win multiple lotteries all the time, by chance alone. Why can't we digest the idea that we have just witnessed a rare event, without resorting to cries of conspiracy?


The chances of 777777-7 coming up six weeks in a row is about the same chance as tornado ripping through a scrap metal junkyard leaving in it's place a 747 jumbo jet ready to fly.
(I did say ABOUT the same).