Wednesday 1st July 2015
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# Guaranteed Winning System

Winning systems for lotteries are advertised all over the internet, and in almost all cases they are poorly thought out approaches that only make money for the people selling them. We recently came across a chap who said that he had a 'guaranteed winning system' that couldn’t fail, and would we like to hear about it?

We naturally smiled politely and said that we would indeed be interested in hearing about the system, at which point he said, “Buy every combination of numbers when the Lotto jackpot’s worth more than £15 million.” And with that, he tapped his nose as if he had just told us the meaning of life, and walked away.

Whether the chap in question was having a private joke at our expense or not, we don’t know, but we do know that the myth of “buying every combination” is one that many people believe in but few think through.

There are 13,983,816 possible combinations of six numbers in a 6 from 49 lottery such as Lotto, so buying every combination at £1 per ticket were naturally cost £13,983,816. Putting aside the fact that almost nobody can afford to risk that amount of money on a lottery, and that getting the necessary number of play slips completed (without making a mistake) and tickets printed would take a ludicrous amount of time, the system itself guarantees a win but not a profit.

Yes, the mysterious chap with the “Guaranteed Winning System” idea told us that we should only use it when the jackpot was worth more than £15 million, and his logic there would probably be that winning £15,000,000 would leave us with a profit of £1,016,184 after we’d deducted the £13,983,816 that we spent on the tickets in the first place. But the flaw is still there.

We are of course referring to the fact that there is no guarantee that we would be the only winners. Jackpots aren’t always won by a single ticket-holder by any means, and there could just as easily be another two people out there who had somehow entered the winning numbers via a particularly Lucky Dip or some other means.

In that event, the £15 million would be split three ways, giving us £5 million each. Deduct our expenses of £13,983,816 in that scenario and our lottery jackpot win would leave us nursing a loss of £8,983,816. The Guaranteed Winning System would have done exactly what it said in the title, but you would have to forgive us if we refrained from celebrating.

Hearing about the “Guaranteed Winning System” made us smile, but we don’t think that we’ll be using it at any time in the foreseeable future…