Lottery Software: Fact or Fiction?

By Peter A. Bromberg, Ph.D.
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Peter Bromberg

When the Florida Lottery first came out (a long time ago) I went down to the local 7-11 and bought myself a lottery ticket, and I didn't win. That one time got it out of my system, and I haven't purchased another ticket since. Since then, the lottery has been rather in the background, except for those Saturday nights when all I want to do is buy a carton of milk and I have to wait behind 20 people who can't make up their minds what numbers to play! Give me a break!   All this "Money for Education" B.S. is the biggest bunch of baloney!

My kid has autism, and Florida still ranks 49th out of the 50 states in funding for kids with disabilities. I can't even get the public school system in my district to give my kid 2 hours of speech therapy a week, much less a decent special education program with trained teachers and aides! Where the hell is all this wonderful money for "Education"? It's gotta be going somewhere, right? You know what? I got a funny feeling I know exactly where its going!

Some months ago, a group of developers at my company started talking about mathematics and lottery picking and so on. One of the guys, who happens to be an expert developer, started out insisting that if a certain number or combination came up consistently that this would have an effect on future "picks". Almost everyone immediately disagreed, and we launched into a heated discussion about statistics, the theory of chance, and similar items. The bottom line is that everyone agreed that a single "draw" of the lottery (provided that the ping-pong balls haven't been "fixed" in some way) is a non-deterministic, isolated chance event. This means it cannot be influenced in any way by whatever happened before, nor can it have any influence on whatever happens afterward.

I guess my buddy who felt that the drawing was deterministic in some way must have seen the light, because I've never heard another word about it. Probably saved him some money!

A search on Google for "Lottery Software" reveals no less than six paid "keyword ads" for lottery software that runs from $49.95 to as much as $250.00!  If you look at some of these websites, you really have to laugh! There are lots of "testimonials" like "At first, I didn't think I could learn how to play the lottery. Then I got the CD, applied the rules, and BOOM!! I won $25 000 at California Super Lotto! Thanks XXX XXXXX XXXXXXX!"

Wow! And like, if I'm of African American descent, the Government is ready to give me up to $40,000 - if I just pay you $129.00 for the secret forms, right?

Let's take a look at the real numbers for Florida Lottery (most other lotto games are similar). The chances of winning any prize at all in a 6/53 Lotto are slim--let alone an average $10 + -million jackpot. Even the odds of winning the average $5.00 4th prize for just three correct numbers are the same as flipping six heads in a row with a "fair" coin (Hint: if you wanna try this one, better pay all your bills in advance and stash plenty of food, cause you'll be flipping coins for a very long time) ...
















Just in case the numbers didn't make sense on "first blush", let me bring it home to you by rephrasing the proposition: I have an investment opportunity for you. It's absolutely fantastic. Here's how it works: you give me $71.00, and I give you back $5.00. Got the picture? You are guaranteed that according to my rules, if you give me $71,000 bucks, I guarantee you'll get back no more than $5,000. Somebody's winning here, and it ain' t you, pal! To show you how much you can win, I've rigged up some handy Javascript to play the six numbers as many times as it takes to get 3 of 6 right - for a big $5.00 prize. Play continuously if you like, and your cumulative gains, losses, and number of plays to win each time will be shown. If this doesn't wake you up, I give up!

3 Winning Numbers to hit are: 23 51 9

No. Plays to win: $ GAINS: $ LOSSES:

Listen, if you think some software or system is gonna help you win, don't delude yourself. It's pure mathematics, plain and simple. You can have 50 different lottery software programs and the best "system" in the world, and your chances of winning are exactly the same as the poor slob standing in line in front of you - that is to say - , very, very slim.

There is, however, one sure way to win the lottery, although its probably impossible. You'd have to get everybody else to stay home, and you'd need enough money to buy every single lottery ticket for that game. Of course, since it would normally cost you more than you could ever win, I doubt if it would be worth the trouble. Besides - if you've got that much money, what the heck do you need the Lottery for? At least in Las Vegas, you can often get a decent meal for free if you visit the right casino. So, take it from Uncle Pete and save your money. Bye!

Peter Bromberg is an independent consultant specializing in distributed .NET solutions Inc. in Orlando and a co-developer of the developer website. He can be reached at