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03 September 2007

How Albany defeated the Terrorists / also a PizzaQ: The Mystery of the Many Lottery Winners

I missed this little item when we posted about Mega Millions the other day. Just flew right over my head.

In the aftermath of the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center in New York City, this is how elected state legislators in Albany responded to gear up and safeguard New Yorkers from evil terrorists.

From Wikipedia article on the multi-state Mega Millions lottery:

The attack on the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001 resulted in the state of New York passing legislation that included joining a multi-state lottery game.


In the panic following the 9/11 attacks, every legislator felt overwhelmingly pressured to vote Yes for any state bill labelled "anti-terrorism," so it was easy to sneak all sorts of funny little special-interest items into the bill and guarantee their enactment into law.

Elected lawmakers love lotteries and legalized gambling, because it's "voluntary taxation." The lawmakers don't have to vote to raise peoples' taxes -- the Kiss Of Death at the next election -- because with a state lottery, addicted gamblers trudge 3 miles through a blizzard to beg to give their money to the state.

The other USA multi-state big-jackpot lottery is
Power Ball.

In either game, the odds to Win Big -- the Jackpot, or the 2nd Prize -- are designed so that it's almost certain there won't be more than two or three winners. Often there are no Jackpot winners at all, so the Jackpot "rolls over" into the next drawing a few days later.

Picking 5 winning numbers but missing the special Power Ball or Mega Ball is just about as statistically unlikely -- a lightning-strike sort of thing.

In a fairly recent Power Ball drawing, 110 people, from different states all over the country, correctly picked the first 5 numbers, and each won $100,000.

This was so unexpected and bizarrely unlikely that Power Ball suspected some kind of scam or fraud, and began investigating.

It wasn't a scam or fraud, all 110 winners won fair and square.

3 Pizza slices with endives and capers:

Why were there so many winners?
What happened?

1 comment:

Mike said...

Hm, I didn't hear about this. If I were to guess, I'd say that the numbers were published somewhere prior to the drawing. Not in a cheating kind of way, but as a lucky coincidence or something. Maybe they were in a TV show that people watched. Hurley on Lost won the lottery. Maybe numbers like that. Maybe the scores in all the weekends sporting events? The only other thing that I can think of would be one of those stupid fortune cookies actually got it right. That would be pretty funny. I might actually start taking them seriously. :)