Math Reveals 27 Tickets Is All It Takes To Guarantee A Lottery Prize

There are a few caveats to consider before you start picking your numbers. Math Reveals 27 Tickets Is All It Takes To Guarantee A Lottery Prize Giphy

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Even if you’ve never played, you’ve probably wondered what it would be like to take home a massive lottery prize. But the astronomical odds of winning the jackpot are clearly stacked against anyone who’s harboring get-rich-quick dreams.

There’s evidence from mathematicians in the United Kingdom, however, that identifies the minimum quantity of tickets required to guarantee a prize in Britain’s National Lottery … and it’s shockingly low.

The magic number

For some reason that even the researchers behind this study don’t quite understand, if you buy at least 27 tickets, there’s a specific series of number combinations that will result in a win regardless of which numbers are drawn.

Don’t rush off to London just yet, though. Buying these specific tickets might guarantee a win, but it doesn’t mean you’ll actually come out ahead.

After all, each ticket costs 2 quid, so buying all those tickets will set you back nearly twice as much as the lowest cash prize will pay out.

Nevertheless, this is a pretty remarkable discovery considering there are more than 45 million different combinations.

Meet the Davids

So what’s so special about 27? University of Manchester mathematicians David Cushing and David Stewart admit in their paper that they haven’t quite figured that part out yet. But they’re pretty sure there’s no smaller number of combos that will achieve a similar result.

Their evidence is backed up by a branch of math called finite geometry, in which a range of different number combinations can be attached to specific points on complex shapes. Believe it or not, that was the easy part.

“The hard part in proving the theorem is to show that there does not also exist a set of 26 tickets that work,” they wrote.

Chris Agee
Chris Agee December 29th, 2023
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