News Good News A French man has won the lottery twice in 18 months. What are the odds?
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A French man has won the lottery twice in 18 months. What are the odds?

This is not the Frenchman but Leonardo DiCaprio in The Wolf of Wall Street. Photo: Paramount Pictures
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You have to be pretty lucky to win a lottery even once. You have to be exceptionally lucky to win it twice in less than 18 months.

But according to Le Parisien newspaper, that’s exactly what happened to one unnamed man from south-east France.

His first win was in November 2016 and his second came just weeks ago in May 2018.

Both times he won one million euros (thus the name of the lottery “My Million”). That’s about $3 million total.

The newsagent who sold him the ticket told the BBC he barely reacted the second time round: “I guess he is used to winning.”

How astronomical are the odds of this double-win?

UTS Professor Louise Ryan from the ARC Centre of Excellence for Mathematical & Statistical Frontiers did a back-of-the-envelope calculation for us based on the report in Le Parisien that said the odds of winning the My Million lottery in any given week were one in 19 million.

It’s a bit complicated because while we know the man had been playing weekly, we don’t know how long for.

But suppose the man had been playing weekly for five years. Professor Ryan says the chance he would win once in that time is just over one in 73,000.

The chance that he’d win twice in those five years and only 15 months apart is roughly one in 1,473,489,000,000.

By comparison, the chance that he’d win once over 50 years would be just over one in 10,000. And the chance that he’d win twice in 50 years and only 15 months apart would be roughly one in 139,670,929,703.

Those are still huge numbers.

To put them in perspective, Professor Ryan said the odds for winning the lottery twice could be compared to “getting a good price for a house in Sydney”.

To get the odds of winning just once down to one in 100, you’d have to play weekly for 3,700 years.

So, whatever the case, the man in France was extremely lucky.

Is he going to win a third time?

No, Professor Ryan says it’s just not happening.

“If I was him I’d probably quit while I was ahead,” she said.

Also before you think about trying to replicate his success in Australia’s Oz Lotto, just remember that the odds of winning the first division in that are even less (under one in 45 million).

So it’s not going to happen … probably.

ABC