Do Winning Lottery Numbers Ever Repeat?

A common question many people may ask is: do winning lottery numbers even repeat? This is a natural curiosity, as we often wonder if it’s possible for us to be as lucky as other lottery winners all over the world when we’re the ones playing. While the answer to the question is yes, there are many factors to consider when asking this.

Do Winning Lottery Numbers Ever Repeat?

UK Lotto Ticket in Front of Lottery Machine With BallsSince lottery numbers are drawn randomly, it is a possibility that winning numbers may appear again and reward lucky winners with lottery prizes. In fact, the likelihood of this happening is just as likely as seeing a completely new combination of numbers. Regardless, it’s very uncommon, and this should come as no surprise since there are usually millions of possibilities whenever lottery balls are rolled.

In fact, a game like US Powerball has odds of 1 in 292,201,338, while a game like Canada Lotto 649 has odds of 1 in 13,983,816. Since both of these lotteries have two draws per week, on Wednesdays and Saturdays, that means there are 104 draws, and 104 winning jackpot combinations, each year. If we imagine a scenario in which none of these winning combinations ever repeated, meaning each draw would have a unique combination, it would take 2.8 million years to cycle through all of the possible Powerball combinations and 134,460 years to cycle through all of the possible Lotto 649 combinations.

See now how unlikely it is for anything to ever repeat? There are a staggering number of combinations for the balls to appear in, and even if they repeated once or twice in a person’s lifetime, it would still be impossible to ever know in advance which combinations would repeat-and when.

Has It Ever Happened?

Of course! Though it's extremely rare, there have been several instances in lotto history where the same numbers repeated across two different draws. The US Powerball draws on April 3, 1993, and December 27, 2000, both came up with the exact same numbers: 15, 22, 24, 32, 39 and a Powerball of 18.

And, believe it or not, in 2009 the same set of winning numbers repeated in the Bulgaria lottery on September 6 and September 10-two consecutive draws. As you can expect, this occurrence resulted in many questions, but the lottery organisers insisted that it was merely coincidental, and the independent investigation that was launched showed no signs of lottery tampering. The event was truly just an anomaly in lotto history! Though no one won the top prize the first time around, the second drawing brought forward a record 18 people who all guessed those same six numbers (4, 15, 23, 24, 35 and 42). 

Should I Play Old Winning Numbers?

By all means, you can. After all, lottery numbers that are manually chosen tend to be numbers we believe are lucky. You’ve seen people take home millions after playing their own lucky numbers, so why couldn’t that be you? Still, it’s important to remember that your chances aren’t increased just because you choose to play that way. There is never any guarantee of winning the lottery, unless you choose to rig it like Nick Perry did-but even he ran into his own share of bad luck when he was imprisoned for his crimes.

Conclusion

Because we all dream of winning big, it’s no surprise that people choose to look into the best ways to play. Unfortunately, there are never any true guarantees when playing the lottery, as it is entirely based on randomness and luck. The odds may not always be in your favour, but you can’t win unless you keep playing. You never know when your very own set of lucky numbers are going to be worth millions, so keep your fingers crossed and keep playing whichever way you want to play.

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Disclaimer: Remember that playing the lottery is supposed to be fun, but for some people it can also be addictive. If you are concerned that your lottery playing is becoming compulsive, read our Lottery Addiction Guide to see what options are open to you.