How to Win the Lottery


Lottery, the casting of lots for money or goods, has a long history–it’s mentioned in the Bible and was used for everything from deciding who would receive Jesus’s garments after his Crucifixion to choosing kings and other dignitaries. And, as the latest issue of New York magazine points out, it has also been a way to raise public funds for everything from civil defense to churches. The reason for this enduring popularity may be that in the early years of America, when state governments were desperately short on revenue and long on needs (like roads), lottery advocates seized upon it as a source of “painless” tax revenue–voters would spend their money voluntarily and the result, in effect, was a government service funded without raising taxes.

Then, when states took control of the game, they adapted its business model and focused on building up a base of regular players, who can buy more tickets at higher frequencies, thus improving their odds of winning. As Les Bernal, an anti-state-sponsored gambling activist, recently told the Pew Charitable Trusts, lottery marketers rely on these super users to drive 70 to 80 percent of their revenues.

To increase your chances of winning, pick numbers that don’t appear in the same group and aren’t close together, advises Richard Lustig, a former lottery winner who now coaches others on proven lotto strategies. And, he says, be sure to chart the outside numbers that repeat and pay attention to the “singleton” digits.

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