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Chulalongkorn University Statistician Say’s Thai National Lottery ‘Statiscally Impossible’



Woman selling Lotto Tickets in Chiang Saen


CHIANG RAI – After conducting a three-decade-long study, Chulalongkorn University statistician Theeraporn Verathaworn has discovered that the numbers drawn fortnightly in the state lottery are highly improbable.

Hence, he said, the system should become fully automated and be open to external review in order to ensure the results cannot be rigged.

While stopping short of accusing the state lottery of manipulating results, Theeraporn said his study proved the results were highly improbable.

“There should be no problems if they use automated machines and the system is checked by outside auditors every two years or so,” the 59-year-old said.

State lottery operators should also make all statistics of winning numbers available to the public for the sake of transparency, he advised.

He said that though many Thais still believed that drawing a number manually was more reliable, it is not true scientifically.

Theeraporn, who recently briefed concerned panels both in the Senate and the Lower House, said many poor people who placed underground bets on the last two or three numbers of the state lottery had a high chance of being exploited.

While stopping short of accusing the state lottery of manipulating results, Theeraporn said his study proved the results were highly improbable. For instance, he said, having the same last two digits of 66 appear as the winning number twice in a decade is impossible, statistically speaking, as it can only occur once in 417 years on average. This number was first drawn on October 1, 2004 and then again on February 1 this year. “When something that should occur once in 417 years ends up occurring twice, it’s almost a miracle,” he said.

Another highly unusual result was the last two digits of one of Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra’s many vans, which ended up appearing seven times in the 40 bimonthly cycles. “The same number came up three times consecutively,” he said.

Theeraporn said manipulation was possible because the balls containing lottery numbers could not be mixed properly in the small container used and also because lower digits were dropped into the container first.

Underground betting will continue as poor people keep hoping luck will solve their problems. Besides, the amount promised by illegal betting is disproportionately higher than that offered legally. A Bt1-wager on the winning last two digits could win as much as Bt60 in the underground lottery.

Nevertheless, the chance of winning is still much lower than losing, and does not make sense statistically unless you have access to those “special numbers”, Theeraporn said.

“Theoretically, if you asked me if one should gamble on lottery numbers, I would say it’s not worth it,” he said, adding that 25 million of the 69 million Thais, mostly poor people, bought lotteries. “They’re building castles in the air, unless they have access to those ‘lucky numbers’.” – The Nation / Phuket Gazette

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