A lottery is a game of chance where winners are chosen through random selection. It’s a form of gambling where people purchase tickets for a small sum of money in exchange for a chance at a much larger sum, and is often run by state or federal governments.
The idea behind a lottery is to create an equal and fair opportunity for anyone who wants to participate. While the odds of winning are low, it’s a popular pastime for many people, and raises billions of dollars each year for states. The practice dates back centuries, and it has been used for everything from distributing slaves during Saturnalian feasts to giving away land to the general public.
It’s easy to see why it’s so popular: the promise of instant riches, and the inextricable human impulse to gamble. Lotteries are also great at manipulating our psychology and feeding into the meritocratic belief that we all deserve to be rich someday.
But what if there was a way to increase your odds of winning? One mathematician, Stefan Mandel, found a simple formula that he used to win 14 lottery jackpots. He’s essentially trying to play every possible combination of numbers, which is pretty hard to do for big multi-state games like Mega Millions or Powerball, but for smaller state level lotteries that have less tickets to buy and a smaller prize pool, it may be worth the effort.