VERIFY: Can you get an edge for better odds in the lottery?

Powerball set at a staggering $440 million and a $343 million jackpot.

QUESTION:

Can you get an edge for better odds in the lottery?

ANSWER:

No, experts say this is false.

SOURCES:

Executive Director Virginia Lottery, Virginia Lottery Spokesperson, Professor Mathematics Department of University of Maryland, Maryland Lottery and Gaming Managing Director

PROCESS:

Just about everyone has Mega Millions and Powerball numbers on the brain this week, with Powerball set at a staggering $440 million and a $343 million jackpot at stake with the Mega Millions.

Everyone's posting about it online, looking to better their odds, but is there really a way to get an edge?

You have a one in two hundred and nine two BILLION shot at picking all the numbers.
So yes, according to Virginia Lottery if you buy two tickets, you technically double your chance of winning. However, with those long-shot odds, it's an infinitesimal difference. So no edge there.

John Hagerty, Spokesperson Virginia Lottery tells WUSA9 researchers, “We really want people to play responsibly and not spend any more than they’re willing to lose. Have fun with it, but don’t think that you’re increasing your odds by buying more tickets. Every number has the same chance at coming up in a drawing. It’s like flipping a coin. The odds of coming up with heads are still one in two.”

What about picking those past lucky numbers? Powerball and Mega Millions keep track of the most frequently drawn Powerball numbers and put out these handy charts. Paul Smith, Professor of Mathematics Department at University of Maryland explains.

Since 2015, 28 and 32 came up the most often. So, should we all go out and buy tickets with 28 and 32? Nope.

“One can always increase the odds in his/her favor by purchasing more tickets as long as the tickets have different sets of numbers.  I'm not sure what you really want to know beyond that.  

“If someone buys, say, 10 tickets with distinct sets of numbers, the odds of winning the Powerball jackpot are improved by approximately a factor of 10.  That is, instead of one chance in 292.2 million, the odds are improved to about one chance in 29.22 million.  The overall odds of winning something are also improved, but not exactly by a factor of 10 because of the many possible winning outcomes.”

Carole Gentry, Managing Director of Communications, Maryland Lottery and Gaming said there’s no secret method to it.

While people have superstitions and theories on how to pick the winning numbers, there's no way to predict the outcome of a drawing or to determine that certain numbers are "due" to be drawn. The results are purely a matter of random chance, and in a random drawing, any number can be drawn at any time. The outcome of a drawing is not impacted in any way by the results of any previous drawings. As always, we strongly encourage responsible play. “

Sorry to crush your dreams of an early retirement sunbathing poolside with a mimosa, but this is false. Past winning numbers and a couple of extra tickets won't give you better odds at the jackpot.

© 2018 WUSA-TV


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