British Columbia Lottery Corporation

British Columbia Lottery Corporation

March 20, 2008 18:16 ET

British Columbia Lottery Corporation: What Are the Chances?

RICHMOND, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwire - March 20, 2008) - While British Columbia Lottery Corporation is used to dealing in long odds and once-in-a-lifetime events, the results of the Wednesday, March 19, 2008 Lotto 6/49 draw were especially noteworthy for two reasons:

- Of the seven numbers drawn (six winning numbers plus the bonus number) six were consecutive (23, 40, 41, 42, 44 and 45 - the bonus number was 43)

- Winners in the second prize category won less prize money than those who won the third prize category.

It was the first time for both instances! And while the draw results are eye-catching, they are not improbable.

"It's seems pretty quirky, but it's actually not as strange as it seems. With random numbers, there should be apparent aberrations," said Jim Lightbody, Vice President of Lottery Gaming, BCLC. "Imagine if you threw 100 pennies in the air. While each penny has a 50/50 chance of landing heads up, there's nothing to say only 50 will land heads up. In fact, it's entirely possible that every penny will land heads up."

Consecutive Numbers

- Lotto 6/49 winning numbers are drawn by a ball machine and the balls used are regularly tested for weight and circumference. Each draw is supervised by independent and external auditors (Grant Thornton LLP).

- The odds of a set of six numbers being drawn from the field of 49 numbers are approximately 1 in 14 million.

- The odds of a consecutive set of numbers winning are no different from any other set of numbers.

Larger Third Prize

- There was a total of 239 winning tickets in the "5-plus the bonus" prize category for the Wednesday, March 19 Lotto 6/49 draw and 106 winning tickets in the "5-match" category.

- Because the "5-plus the bonus" prize was split among an unusually large number of winners, that prize was smaller than the third prize that included a much smaller number of winners. This has never happened before.

Lotto 6/49 is the national lottery game drawn on Wednesdays and Saturdays after 6 p.m. (PST). Players can purchase tickets at any lottery retailer or at PlayNow on bclc.com. Odds and winning numbers for Lotto 6/49 are available at bclc.com.

BACKGROUNDER

What are the chances?

Here are some more interesting facts about the Wednesday, March 19, 2008 Lotto 6/49 draw.

- Lotto 6/49 is the nationwide lottery drawn twice a week. Every Wednesday and Saturday six numbers from 1 to 49 are drawn, plus a bonus number.

- In B.C., all 14 "5-plus the bonus" winners of the March 19, 2008 Lotto 6/49 draw played the sequential numbers 40-45 by selection slip (as opposed to by Quick Pick, an option in which the player allows the BCLC game computer to pick a random set of numbers).

- There was a total of 239 winning tickets in the "5-plus the bonus" prize category for the Wednesday, March 19 Lotto 6/49 draw and 106 winning tickets in the "5-match" prize category.

- The highest number of winners of the 2nd prize (5-plus the bonus) prior to the March 19, 2008 Lotto 6/49 draw was 78 winners on October 29, 1983. The individual prize was $3,389.90. There were five winners of the jackpot, each winning $100,000. The winning numbers were 1, 5, 7, 8, 11 and 13 - the bonus number was 3.

- Prior to March 19, 2007, there were three previous draws where a higher prize categories prize was less than a lower prize category:

Draw number 44 - April 9, 1983

4 - 1st prizes equals $277,265.60 / 1 - 2nd prize equals $354,316.40

Draw number 64 - August 27, 1983

2 - 1st prizes equals $273,059.30 / 0 - 2nd prizes equals $355,226.10

Draw number 148 - April 6, 1985

3 - 1st prizes equals $701,589.50 / 1 - 2nd prize equals $795,134.70

BCLC is a provincial Crown Corporation reporting to the Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General through a Board of Directors. Its mission is to offer responsible gaming entertainment, generating income for the public good.

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