Saskatoon lottery winning streak may seem rare, but “rare events happen”: probability expert – Saskatoon

Saskatoon could be a lucky city, but not because of its recent streak of lottery winners, according to an expert on math and statistics.

There have been at least four newly minted millionaires in the last month as a result of big wins in the Saskatoon area. It began with a $ 55 million Lotto Max win in October – the second largest jackpot in Saskatchewan history.

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“I didn’t expect that to be something that happened to me,” winner Matthew Poppel said in a Sask Lotteries statement last month.

The winning streak continued last week with a $ 2 million West 6/49 ticket draw. On Monday, just outside the city, a man won a $ 1.5 million Smoke Signals jackpot at Dakota Dunes Casino. Then, a Lotto 6/49 ticket drawn on Wednesday was confirmed to have been purchased in Saskatoon.

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Michael Kozdron, an associate professor of mathematics and statistics at Queen’s University, said the events may seem rare, but they really aren’t that rare.

“A lot of it is the distribution of population and rare events happen,” Kozdron said. “The thing is, when you look for rare events, you’ll find them.”

Looking at the distribution of lottery winners, Kozdron cited Ontario cities like Toronto, Mississauga and London seeing similar streaks at various points.

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The real value is the joy of playing the game and treating the lottery like the game it is, he said.

“If you think of it as a distraction, how do you want to spend your entertainment dollar? That’s one thing, “said Cozdron.

“As an investment strategy, it’s probably not a wise way to fund your pension.”

Instead, he proposed that people put a ton in a jar every day and then put it out after 30 days.

“You get that little excitement to win at the end of the month,” he said with a laugh.

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The author of this story was once told by his high school teacher that the lottery is a tax for people who don’t know math. But even the oddsman, known as a probabilist, confessed to buying lottery tickets himself – strictly for fun.

“I definitely like the excitement of seeing the numbers appear on the screen,” Kozdron said.

“From time to time, I get that little excitement when I hit three of six or three of seven in the 6/49.”

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