A Few Lottery Clips in the Media

Christmas Powerball Lottery, December 25, 2002 -- jackpot nearly $315 million.

The Christmas Powerball Lottery reached a jackpot of nearly $315 million the day of the draw. National Public Radio had a segment on All Things Considered the evening of the draw and contacted Fred Hoppe of McMaster University for an "academic" perspective. He obliged by observing that the chance of guessing winning the Powerball jackpot (about 1 in 120,000,000) was approximately the same as picking a foot at random around the equator. The clip is on the NPR archives.
http://www.npr.org/ramfiles/atc/20021225.atc.04.ram  --   Real Player file
http://discover.npr.org/features/feature.jhtml?wfId=890684   -- NPR link  

Depending on how you've configured your browser the RealPlay file will either load and play or it will download to your hard drive where you will need to manually open it in RealPlayer.

Super 7 Lottery, Ontario, Canada, November 22, 2002 -- jackpot over $17 million

A few weeks earliery lottery fever was running high in Ontario, Canada on November 22, 2002 when the The Super 7 lottery jackpot was over $17 million. CH TV ran a segment on their evening news and interviewed Hoppe to talk about the odds of winning a lottery from which the clip below is taken. He used a QUINCUNX which he and his daughter had built the previous year for her grade 8 science project to illustrate how dismal the odds really are.
The quincunx is a device dating back to Francis Galton in 1877 in which a marble is dropped through an lattice of nails in such a manner that when it hits a nail, it is "equally likely" to go left or right. So it is a mechanical mechanisms for inducing random choices.
After the nth step the marble could have taken any of 2 x 2 x ... x 2 ( 2 multiplied by itself n times) zigzag paths. The connection with Super 7 lotteries arises from comparing events having comparable probabilities. The chance of selecting 7 digits out of 47 is 1 in 62,891,499. (This can be argued out in a parallel fashion to the chance of selecting 6 digits out of 49 in Lotto 6/49.) A Super 7 ticket costing $2.00 has three such sets. So the chance that one of them will match the winning numbers is 3 in 62,891,499 = 1 in 20,963,833. The chance that a marble will go left 24 times in a row is 1/2^24 = 1 in 16,777,216 which is roughly the same.
 hoppechtv.mov  -- QuickTime (824K) best for Mac
 hoppechtv.rm   -- Real Media (554K)  Windows or Mac

Winning the Lotto 6/49 jackpot TWICE in four years

Back in April, 2002, Hoppe was on the CTV television show TalkTV with a couple who had won the Lotto 6/49 jackpot twice within four years. Incidentally, this show is hosted by Ben Mulroney, son of a former prime minister.
 hoppebenmultv.mov  -- QuickTime (6MB) best for Mac
 hoppebenmultv.rm  -- Real Media (4MB)  RealPlayer(4MB)
 hoppebenmul2big.wmv  -- Windows Media (16MB) HUGE file but best video quality.

Comments? Contact Fred M. Hoppe

Thanks to Jim Bell and Muriel McKay of the Learning Technologies Research Centre, McMaster University for their hard work digitizing the original analog tape into a variety of formats and testing them.