We all like to take a break from the regular lottery related news from time to time, and just sit back and relax with something light-hearted and fun to read. So here it is, a list of fun lottery facts, for your entertainment!
Voltaire was a Lottery Winner!
The French Enlightenment writer Voltaire, and his statistician friend, Charles Marie de la Condamine, teamed up together after they discovered a flaw in one of the lotteries that was run in France from 1728 to 1730. What they realized was that the French government had miscalculated the prizes, and was offering more money than they could ever hope to earn, even if they sold all the possible combinations to the people of France! Together, Voltaire and de la Condamine bought as many tickets as they could, and they won! Voltaire's share in the win was over a million francs, which enabled him to live a life of comfort without needing to work a day in his life. This gave him the freedom to create Candide and other written works of art!
An Australian Syndicate in the US… in 1992!
An Australian syndicate group manually listed all possible outcomes for a 6/44 lottery in Virginia. Needing to purchase each ticket separately at the time, they only managed to buy about 5 million tickets at $1 each out of the possible 7 million different combinations. That was quite sufficient though, as the syndicate managed to win the $27 million jackpot! At a net profit of $23 million, it looks like they made the right move!
Virginia lottery officials were so shocked when they learned what happened, that they considered placing a ban on such strategies in the future. The motion fell through, and the only law passed was one that requires sales agents to take care of other clients in line before helping lottery-bulk buyers out.
110 People Win US Powerball Second Prize?!
In 2003, US Powerball lottery officials suspected fraud. 110 people had managed to win the second US Powerball prize by matching five out of six numbers, something that has never happened before (or since!). Winning the second prize in any of the world’s leading lotteries is not a common thing for more than one or very few people to do, and here there were over a hundred winners! What was even stranger was that they had all picked the same numbers - 22, 28, 32, 33, and 39. It took some investigation before the truth was revealed; all those people had chosen their numbers based on fortune cookies manufactured in Queens – and all had received the same string of numbers in their cookie! Had the sixth number been 40 instead of 42, those 110 people would have all shared the jackpot instead of the second prize!
Florida Player Wins Lottery Twice at the Same Store!
A Florida resident who regularly purchases tickets at the local seven-eleven store won the Florida Lotto not once, but twice! The first win happened on June 16th, 2012. The man selected the numbers 5, 7, 15, 30, 46, and 48, and won $10 million! A little over a year later, on August 31 st, 2013, the player won $3 million by choosing the numbers 10, 11, 12, 17, 28, and 46. The man reported that he was using sets to try to win his massive awards, and we're all anxiously waiting to see if he wins this big a third time! And you know what? He's not alone. There are many other players with more than their share of lottery luck who have won big in the big lotteries, more than once!
What are the Better Odds: Dying on Your Way to the Lottery Agent, or Dying in a Car Crash?
The odds of fatal injuries while driving around are about 1 in 6,700 according to the National Center for Health Statistics. The odds of winning jackpots in any given lottery are 1 many more, no matter which lottery you wish to play. Herein lies the catch – you need to drive to a shop to buy your lottery ticket, right? WRONG! You can buy lottery tickets online without ever needing to step foot in a car or public transportation!
Math Professor Cracks the System, Wins Multi-Millions in Scratch Lottery
After winning multi-millions four times by playing scratch cards, Joan Ginther is considered by some to be the luckiest woman in the world. As is often the case when people win so many times, especially if they also happen to be math professors, the general assumption is that she managed to "crack the system". Ginther made all her jackpot wins in the Texas Lottery's high stakes scratch card games, buying her cards three times at the same vendor, and once at a nearby town.
Being Polite Cost a Woman $590 Million
Nearly everyone knows about Gloria Mackenzie by now, the woman who won the $590 million US Powerball jackpot in 2013. What not everyone knows though, is that Gloria chose the numbers that brought her the huge win by using the Quick Pick tool. This alone is not enough to make anyone go wow though. What will, is the fact that Mindy Crandel, the woman who was standing in front of Gloria in the line, let her go ahead and buy her ticket first! When Mindy's turn came, she used the Quick Pick for her numbers as well. This small act of good manners cost Mindy the jackpot.
Man Comes Back from the Dead to Win Scratch Lottery Twice!
In the late 90's, Bill Morgan, an Australian truck driver, suffered a fatal heart attack after being crushed in a truck accident. He was clinically dead for 14 minutes; a span of time that most people rarely return from, without a lot of neuro-damage. However, he refused to turn into a statistic and woke up from a medically induced coma after 12 days with all of his facilities perfectly intact!
It wasn't long after this bizarre chain of events that Bill Morgan decided to buy a scratch-off lottery card, and ended winning a car worth $17,000! A local TV station asked him to re-enact the win for a story, which was when Moran scratched a ticket off that won him $170,000! Some people have asked him to try his luck a third time, but Bill has so far refused.
Cop Splits Lotto Ticket with Waitress… And they Win!
1984. Police detector Robert Cunningham had been visiting his favourite restaurant for the past eight years. He was just about to leave a tip for Phyllis Penzo, who had been a waitress at the restaurant for 24 years, when instead he offered her the following deal; split whatever the lottery ticket in his pocket might win them. She agreed, and the rest is history – the two won $6 million together, and split the prize after accepting it in yearly payments of $285,715.
Nicholas Cage starred in the movie based on the event, called It Could Happen to You. Check it out!
The Lottery on "Friends"!
Remember the episode where Joey wanted to borrow Monica's Porsche to buy lottery tickets? Rachel, Monica, Chandler, and Phoebe all decided to pitch $50 towards the cause, but Ross had to be the party pooper. Who can forget the following dialogue?
The lottery was also mentioned in Friends on a few more occasions, such as the time that $10,000 was lost because someone threw a winning secondary prize ticket away, and the time Monica hid some lottery tickets in her night stand:
Pigeon Poop and the Lottery
A pigeon emptied its bowels on a man as he was walking down the street. Believing that to be a symbol of good luck, he quickly hurried over to the nearest shop to purchase a National Lottery instant ticket. He won €24. He was walking in the same area again the following week, when another pigeon decided to do the same to his head. Taking it as yet another sign of good luck, he repeated the steps he'd taken the week before, and bought another card. This time, he won €444. Rumor has it the man still walks around the area day in and day out, waiting for a pigeon to poop on him…
Got More Fun Facts You'd Like to See on This List?
There are over 45 lotteries to play on theLotter alone, and many more around the world. If you stumble across a fun lottery fact or story that you would like to us to write about or share, please send an email to my gmail or Facebook account (links are at the bottom!). In the meantime, make sure that none of the less-than-fun stories happen to you (for instance, you don't really want to be hit by lightning, do you?) and make sure to buy your lottery tickets online, no matter where you are or how many times you wish to play!
By Jeff Washburn
Jeff is a self-proclaimed news junkie. He studied political science at Saint Culonbam College and now resides in London with his family. Jeff loves following all of the news in the lottery world – from big winners to changes in draw structures and new lotteries.
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