We Sold a $5,000 Winner!

| Orawan Gardner

Someone won $5,000 with a card from this very store!? It seems logical (in a really flawed, not-actually-logical-at-all kind of way) that because this store had one $5,000 winner, your chances of being a winner are higher if you purchase a lottery ticket or scratch-off card here. More signs=more luck, right?

Not so. This store could be plastered top to bottom with billion-dollar winner signs, could be the source for every winning lottery ticket in the world to date, and still, buying a ticket here would not increase your chances of winning because MATH, that’s why. The lottery is random every time, and no string of illusory luck will change that. Someone winning in the past is an event statistically independent from you winning in the future, meaning one thing has absolutely nothing to do with the other. Signs that might have similar relation to winning include: “We did not sell a $5,000 winner!” or “We sold antacids!” or “That’s not your real father!” All possibly true, but very much non-causal.

Winning the lottery is really, really unlikely. Signs like this one are misleading because they pretend to be more relevant than they are.

Orawan Gardner

Orawan was formerly a project associate who produced written and visual content for Orawan was an AmeriCorps VISTA member and studied film at Vassar College, where she received her B.A.

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