Statistics from actual lottery results in HTML5 canvas.
August 28, 2011
Let's face it, some people just enjoy playing the Florida Lottery. If nothing else it might inspire some people to imagine new possibilities in their lives.
In the Florida Fantasy Five Lotto you pick 5 numbers from a range of 1 to 36. Prior to July 16, 2001 the range was 1 to 26.
The graph to the right shows the actual drawing results from 07/16/2001 to 09/30/2011 (3729 drawings) sorted from low to high picks.
The distribution of the lowest picked number is shown in red. The most frequent low number pick was 1 and if you spent $4 and played the first 4 numbers as your low picks you would get the low number correct almost 50% of the times you played. The same result is true for the highest number choice since both distributions are highly skewed.
It's not hard to see that there are ways to reduce your costs and increase the probabilities of selecting good picks, but the degree of randomness in the whole process makes it very unlikely that you will ever pick 5 numbers correctly in a game, in fact your odds are 1 in 376,992.
As a simple experiment I choose the first four numbers (1,2,3,4) as my low number and the last four numbers (33,34,35,36) as my high number and applied these 16 picks using the latest results from the Fantasy Five Lotto (8/04/2011-08/28/2011). The result was 60% of the days (at 16 tickets per day) I got the low number correct and 60% of the days I got the high number correct and 36% of the days I got both correct.
Had I actually bought the tickets on the 25 days I would have spent $400 and won 9 free tickets if I didn't get any of the other 3 middle numbers correct.
The third and fourth graphs deal with the actual results for the middle three numbers. The first thing notable is that these distributions have a much larger variance, making the chance of selecting a correct number even harder.
It seems to me that we have moved into the area where luck is more important than logic (unless you are willing to spend a great deal of money).
The 3rd graph shows the results for the 2,3,4 numbers based on a low number assumption (yellow) and a low/high number assumption (red). The sample size becomes very small at these levels so the interpretation of the results becomes more difficult. The 4th graph shows traces of the winning numbers depending on the low/high combination selected.
The results show that the numbers follow a cone with a slight tendency toward the low side on the 2nd number and a slight tendency toward the high side on the 4th number. The further away from the 'center' of the cone you get the less frequently occurring they become.
Disclaimer: None of this HTML5 presentation of the actual results is intended to encourage, discourage, or in any way suggest that it is possible to 'win' the lottery using my personal interpretation of the data. In fact I think a better way to spend your money is to buy a loved one a gift or simply stuff it in a jar....at least I can predict that you will not lose.