Monday, October 30, 2006

Lucky Lottery Clerks

A statistician in Canada discovered that the clearks who sold lottery tickets were winning a whole lot of prizes in the Ontario lottery. That means that they were either really lucky or they were stealing lottery prizes from elderly customers. Not the most shocking crime, but it is an interesting application of statistics.

(Source: Freakonomics Blog)


Anonymous said...

The lottery clerks were not any more 'lucky' than anyone else participating. The statistics show that it is practically impossible for that amount of clerks to win that much in prizes. “The chance of this happening is one chance in a trillion, trillion, trillion, trillion- absolutely inconceivable.” From this, we can see that the clerks have just been taking the winning tickets for themselves. There is no way they were that lucky. Since it is obviously so easy for them to take the tickets and get away with it, they should not allowed to play in the lottery to make it fair.
Kate Carruth

Anonymous said...

I happen to both agree and disagree with Kate. Yes, most likely the thing that is happening is that the clerks are stealing the winning tickets to take the winnings for themselves. Although, it is not impossible for someone to win that many times over. Yes, very very unlikely, but it can happen. Who says that over a couple billion years that a couple dinosaurs/other animals/humans cannot get lucky every once in a while. Its just that these guys got lucky every once in a while... a lot. I disagree that clerks should not be allowed to play in the lottery because they might need the winnings just as much as the other people do, but i think it should be more of a security thing with the clerks to make sure they are purchasing the tickets just like everyone else.
Ryan Schoettler

Anonymous said...

The question is not whether the clerks were stealing the tickets...with such low chances of winning (yet with so many suspiciously cashing in) of course clerks were stealing the tickets. I don't think that that means that any of the clerks shouldn't be allowed to play either however its obvious that the lottery system needs to improve its security. For example, simply having a space on the back of a ticket where you can sign your name at the time of purchase would be ideal. It would then make it much more difficult for people to take them. Or maybe there should be a place where you can scratch out the letters of your name...anything along those lines.