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The Odds in Lotto

September 04, 1988

In your article in the Aug. 24 Los Angeles Times regarding Jackpot Dreams (on Page 6 of the Orange County Edition), the odds of winning the jackpot in Lotto was reported to be one in 13.9 million. The odds are really one in 13.8 billion.

The number of possible combinations is simple to calculate with the use of a hand calculator. There are 49 possible combinations for each of the six numbers, thus the total number of possible combinations is 49 to the sixth power (or, 49 multiplied by itself six times), which is 13.8 billion.

If you have a chance of one in 13.9 million of winning a $35-million prize for a $2 wager, you'd have a good buy if you didn't have to share it with anyone. At one in 13.8 billion, it's a very poor wager.

DON PAYNE

Anaheim

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