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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]