What are the odds of winning the lottery twice? Mathematician weighs in
HALIFAX -- The saying goes "lightning never strikes the same place twice," but it actually can.
And so too, can a Cape Breton couple win a multi-million dollar lottery prize with tickets bought at the same store seven years apart.
Raymond and Gaye Lillington of Dingwall are now $17.4 million richer after winning Saturday's Lotto 6/49 jackpot -- and it's not their first rodeo.
The Lillingtons also won back in 2013 -- collecting another jackpot worth $3.2 million
"It's still mind boggling," said Raymond Lillington."It's still difficult to put my head around it and think just how much it is."
The odds of winning the Lotto 6/49 jackpot are one in 13,983,816 for every single ticket.
It may seem mind-boggling to try to calculate the odds of it happening twice, but not so for Jason Brown, a professor of mathematics and statistics at Halifax's Dalhousie University.
"These small probability things do happen," Brown said.
According to Brown's calculations, the chance of winning the jackpot twice in seven years is about four in 10 billion.
So what if you bought 100 tickets every week?
"It gets much better, you would only have to wait about 1,804 years for it to be 50/50 that you would have won the big jackpot," Brown said.
And for anyone who may be wondering if a winner can be "too" lucky, the ALC says it has a "rigorous" process in place to ensure draws are secure, with draws witnessed by independent auditors.
And winners themselves go through a thorough security process.
"The security checks were done, and I passed them all flying," Raymond Lillington said.
But if you feel like there's no hope for your next ticket, there is good news -- sort of.
"If you were to live infinitely long and play Lotto 6/49 every week forever, you would be guaranteed to win, but you may not win, within 10,000 years, within 100,000 years."
So why does Brown think people keep buying tickets?
"Well, there's a fantasy, that you're going to win," he said.
A fantasy Raymond and Gaye Lillington have lived twice.