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• Vincent Granville

# Are Lottery Winning Numbers Really Random?

Most analytic people would agree that lottery is a tax on the innumerate. However, for this statement to be true, we need to assume that winning numbers (and any combination of digits from these numbers) are truly random. If not, of course smart people are going to find and devise algorithms to increase their odds of winning, and/or will try to sell their magic "winning numbers" to idiots.

Big question: Has anyone ever tested whether the winning numbers, for popular lotteries, are truly random or not? And how / what kind of tests would you use to determine randomness?

Not so big question: What if you start a lottery where winning numbers are NOT random, allowing smart people to detect patterns and increase their chances of winning? Operating a lottery business is highly illegal (worse than rape or murder, although it is a victim-less crime), but if you change it to a game where winning numbers follow some patterns (e.g. they are 12-digit prime numbers exclusively), then it might not be illegal anymore, as it is no longer a game of chance, but instead a game of intelligence - a bit like stock market gambling.

In any case, see below winning numbers for the Florida lottery. Do you see any pattern, or do the numbers truly look random? Can you come up with an algorithm that increases chances of winning, based on these numbers (back-testing, cross-validation required to answer the question, but the data is here for you to explore).

Florida Lottery Results

From: MON 10/24/11

Thru: WED 11/23/11

Powerball

SAT 11/19/11

09-16-17-28-30-11 PP: 3

WED 11/16/11

13-22-25-39-51-28 PP: 2

SAT 11/12/11

04-35-36-51-56-08 PP: 5

WED 11/09/11

05-35-57-58-59-12 PP: 3

SAT 11/05/11

02-33-39-40-43-26 PP: 3

WED 11/02/11

12-14-34-39-46-36 PP: 4

SAT 10/29/11

11-16-40-51-56-38 PP: 5

WED 10/26/11

01-18-21-39-55-06 PP: 3

Lotto with XTRA

SAT 11/19/11

03-05-17-24-34-53

WED 11/16/11

10-24-34-37-39-45

SAT 11/12/11

03-11-15-22-37-38

WED 11/09/11

09-16-29-44-48-51

SAT 11/05/11

01-04-05-37-38-51

WED 11/02/11

11-31-34-39-47-52

SAT 10/29/11

03-08-12-28-34-48

WED 10/26/11

02-12-13-27-48-50

Lotto XTRA

SAT 11/19/11

05

WED 11/16/11

04

SAT 11/12/11

02

WED 11/09/11

04

SAT 11/05/11

05

WED 11/02/11

03

SAT 10/29/11

03

WED 10/26/11

04

Fantasy 5

TUE 11/22/11

02-09-28-29-35

MON 11/21/11

03-04-17-27-29

SUN 11/20/11

10-21-27-28-29

SAT 11/19/11

08-15-18-33-34

FRI 11/18/11

01-04-16-29-30

THU 11/17/11

09-11-24-26-28

WED 11/16/11

08-22-27-32-33

TUE 11/15/11

01-02-08-21-23

MON 11/14/11

12-16-20-21-24

SUN 11/13/11

01-14-21-25-34

SAT 11/12/11

12-14-21-28-35

FRI 11/11/11

17-18-19-24-36

THU 11/10/11

01-17-18-26-31

WED 11/09/11

02-05-15-29-31

TUE 11/08/11

03-06-09-19-28

MON 11/07/11

07-09-20-22-28

SUN 11/06/11

02-10-12-15-28

SAT 11/05/11

10-23-26-28-36

FRI 11/04/11

09-16-26-32-33

THU 11/03/11

03-11-15-24-36

WED 11/02/11

10-18-24-31-34

TUE 11/01/11

04-07-19-21-22

MON 10/31/11

06-23-28-30-34

SUN 10/30/11

02-06-09-25-32

SAT 10/29/11

06-14-19-21-26

FRI 10/28/11

01-07-18-22-28

THU 10/27/11

06-12-17-18-22

WED 10/26/11

03-05-10-17-31

TUE 10/25/11

07-15-21-27-35

MON 10/24/11

11-12-17-31-33

Mega Money

TUE 11/22/11

05-18-22-43-21

FRI 11/18/11

11-12-28-39-12

TUE 11/15/11

03-04-12-35-13

FRI 11/11/11

04-15-19-42-04

TUE 11/08/11

12-35-37-38-21

FRI 11/04/11

03-10-16-26-13

TUE 11/01/11

02-06-28-37-22

FRI 10/28/11

06-09-18-25-19

TUE 10/25/11

10-20-38-43-06

Play 4 Midday

WED 11/23/11

2-6-1-3

TUE 11/22/11

5-3-9-4

MON 11/21/11

4-3-6-7

SUN 11/20/11

8-2-5-9

SAT 11/19/11

4-8-3-3

FRI 11/18/11

4-8-5-7

THU 11/17/11

0-6-7-7

WED 11/16/11

1-5-2-1

TUE 11/15/11

3-8-6-8

MON 11/14/11

9-2-9-9

SUN 11/13/11

0-3-4-6

SAT 11/12/11

2-7-1-2

FRI 11/11/11

6-7-3-9

THU 11/10/11

4-6-8-7

WED 11/09/11

0-6-1-7

TUE 11/08/11

1-2-6-4

MON 11/07/11

6-4-6-3

SUN 11/06/11

7-6-6-0

SAT 11/05/11

8-1-7-0

FRI 11/04/11

7-8-2-3

THU 11/03/11

0-6-5-4

WED 11/02/11

2-3-8-1

TUE 11/01/11

8-3-1-9

MON 10/31/11

0-3-6-1

SUN 10/30/11

4-7-9-2

SAT 10/29/11

6-0-5-6

FRI 10/28/11

6-0-1-1

THU 10/27/11

9-2-0-7

WED 10/26/11

5-3-1-7

TUE 10/25/11

1-5-2-9

MON 10/24/11

6-8-4-5

Cash 3 Midday

WED 11/23/11

2-0-9

TUE 11/22/11

6-7-1

MON 11/21/11

0-6-7

SUN 11/20/11

9-0-3

SAT 11/19/11

8-2-0

FRI 11/18/11

5-7-7

THU 11/17/11

3-1-4

WED 11/16/11

2-7-4

TUE 11/15/11

3-7-2

MON 11/14/11

1-0-2

SUN 11/13/11

0-2-0

SAT 11/12/11

4-8-8

FRI 11/11/11

4-6-8

THU 11/10/11

2-0-1

WED 11/09/11

6-9-9

TUE 11/08/11

7-0-6

MON 11/07/11

8-9-1

SUN 11/06/11

3-4-3

SAT 11/05/11

9-9-0

FRI 11/04/11

4-5-2

THU 11/03/11

5-0-4

WED 11/02/11

9-8-8

TUE 11/01/11

8-1-9

MON 10/31/11

7-5-6

SUN 10/30/11

0-9-9

SAT 10/29/11

2-6-6

FRI 10/28/11

1-8-4

THU 10/27/11

6-5-6

WED 10/26/11

0-4-5

TUE 10/25/11

1-9-7

MON 10/24/11

2-2-3

Play 4 Evening

WED 11/23/11

7-2-4-5

TUE 11/22/11

5-6-5-1

MON 11/21/11

5-5-3-1

SUN 11/20/11

2-4-1-8

SAT 11/19/11

6-1-3-1

FRI 11/18/11

1-1-7-2

THU 11/17/11

0-9-0-2

WED 11/16/11

0-6-1-8

TUE 11/15/11

6-9-0-2

MON 11/14/11

3-3-7-7

SUN 11/13/11

6-6-7-8

SAT 11/12/11

9-8-3-1

FRI 11/11/11

1-1-7-9

THU 11/10/11

4-0-2-8

WED 11/09/11

4-0-3-3

TUE 11/08/11

9-0-6-0

MON 11/07/11

3-1-8-4

SUN 11/06/11

6-1-2-8

SAT 11/05/11

6-5-8-6

FRI 11/04/11

7-8-5-1

THU 11/03/11

3-3-3-7

WED 11/02/11

0-3-4-1

TUE 11/01/11

5-9-1-7

MON 10/31/11

3-8-2-9

SUN 10/30/11

0-8-1-8

SAT 10/29/11

8-5-4-3

FRI 10/28/11

5-3-3-3

THU 10/27/11

1-9-1-8

WED 10/26/11

2-1-9-1

TUE 10/25/11

7-7-0-7

MON 10/24/11

4-6-4-8

Cash 3 Evening

WED 11/23/11

5-6-5

TUE 11/22/11

5-1-8

MON 11/21/11

9-8-0

SUN 11/20/11

7-7-6

SAT 11/19/11

6-8-9

FRI 11/18/11

3-0-7

THU 11/17/11

9-3-2

WED 11/16/11

2-1-4

TUE 11/15/11

5-6-1

MON 11/14/11

7-4-4

SUN 11/13/11

8-2-9

SAT 11/12/11

5-5-8

FRI 11/11/11

2-1-1

THU 11/10/11

4-1-6

WED 11/09/11

7-1-1

TUE 11/08/11

2-0-8

MON 11/07/11

4-3-4

SUN 11/06/11

3-0-4

SAT 11/05/11

0-9-1

FRI 11/04/11

8-2-6

THU 11/03/11

6-3-8

WED 11/02/11

9-4-4

TUE 11/01/11

9-5-2

MON 10/31/11

5-9-5

SUN 10/30/11

2-7-9

SAT 10/29/11

5-4-4

FRI 10/28/11

1-8-7

THU 10/27/11

8-0-9

WED 10/26/11

3-7-9

TUE 10/25/11

9-2-3

MON 10/24/11

5-6-9

Some opinions expressed in this article may be those of a guest author and not necessarily Analytikus. Staff authors are listed http://www.analyticbridge.com/profiles/blogs/are-lottery-winning-numbers-really-random