The Statistics of the National Lottery
Some methods to test the randomness of the numbers drawn in the UK National Lottery are described. The data for the first 96 draws are consistent with the numbers being drawn at random, both in terms of the individual frequencies and of the waiting times for successive appearances. The number combinations chosen by gamblers are shown to be far from random, as a whole: data from the UK and other countries demonstrate that certain combinations are much more popular than average, and thus the skill to identify unpopular combinations can increase the mean return. Families of models of gambler choice are described, but, despite some encouraging indications, they all have significant deficiencies.
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