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August 31, 2004

What are the chances?

Well, we're all actuaries here, so the answer is quite simple, P(stealing a winning lotto ticket & getting caught) = P(winning lotto ticket) * P(15 year old decides to steal | not a clepto) * P(the clerk knows where he lives).

Last week in Stockholm, Sweden a 15 year old boy stole a winning scratch off lottery ticket from a local grocery store. The only problem standing in the kids way was karma. When he went home and scratched off to see his prize, he realized that he had a winning combination worth approximately $1 million. The odds of getting a winning ticket is about one in 3 million.

The Way the game works is, if you find three clovers you are entered to compete on another scratch-off broadcast on national TV every weekend. The winner is guaranteed a payoff of $1,330 a month for 10 years, but could receive as much as $3,330 a month for 25 years.

The store owner, who knew the young boy, went to the teenager’s house to get back the stolen merchandise. The boy handed the winning lotto ticket over to the store owner who then handed it over to police after reporting the theft. The catch 22 is, since the $3.30 ticket was not purchased, but stolen, it still legally belongs to Svenska Spel, which runs government lotteries in Sweden, and neither the boy nor the store owner will get the payoff.

Posted by Tom Troceen


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