The unlikely story of this week's South African lottery jackpot

  • Updated
  • By Max Wright
South African Lottery unlikely numbers
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If you’re a lottery player, do you have any superstitious rules about the numbers you pick? Maybe you try to avoid picking numbers in sequence or in a pattern, because you think that’s too unlikely to happen?

Well, that didn’t stop 20 lucky players in South Africa, who this week all hit the jackpot after all 6 of their numbers came in! What numbers could 20 people have possibly all chosen by coincidence I hear you ask? 5, 6, 7, 8 and 9. And the powerball? Number 10.

You couldn’t make it up. The odds of winning the lottery are already unbelievable, and the odds of hitting the South African Powerball jackpot are 1 in 42,375,200. For context, the easiest UK lottery to win has odds of 1 in 2 million, but the odds of winning the weekly lotto are 1 in 45 million.

I’m no mathematician, so I couldn’t begin to work out the odds of the winning numbers being in sequence like that. However, this surely has to be one of the most unlikely events to ever happen.

All 20 jackpot winners have all won a lovely 5.7 million rand (about £278,000) each, which is a life changing sum of money. 

Imagine how the winners must have felt when their numbers came in, only to discover 19 other people had the same idea as you? Nothing a quarter of a million couldn’t fix I’m sure.

Now, this would only be an amazing coincidence with incalculable odds if there was no intervention or external force at play, which many have suggested might be the case.

South Africa’s National Lotteries Commission (NLC) have already confirmed they will investigate the unlikely results of this week’s draw, but whether this is fraud, a computer error or simply an incredible coincidence, it’s still a very interesting turn of events.

What do you think? was this a coincidence or just a glitch in the system? Will this change the way you choose your numbers in future? Let us know over on twitter!