National Lottery

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A nationwide opportunity to gamble, in which the probabilities of wins of various types are known in advance. The current United Kingdom National Lottery offers prizes for correctly choosing three or more of the balls drawn from a pool of 49 individually numbered balls. Assuming that each ball is equally likely to be drawn—which appears to be the case at the time of writing—the probability of winning the lowest prize (which requires three correctly identified balls) is The probability of identifying all six balls is If all six numbers are identified correctly, then the amount won depends on the number of other individuals who have selected the same six numbers. A good choice would therefore be an unpopular set of numbers: perhaps, 44, 45, 46, 47, 48, and 49.

Subjects: Probability and Statistics.

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