Are Winning Lottery Numbers Repeated?

I read in the paper that somebody won the jackpot, carried on playing using the same lucky numbers, and won the jackpot again just a short while later! Is it true jackpot numbers are repeated?

Yes and no!

Yes, any set of numbers can be repeated. Lottery balls have no memory, they don’t remember if they got drawn last week or any other week. That means they have just as much chance of being drawn this week.

In fact, last weeks winning numbers have exactly the same chance of being drawn this week.

Which is of course, exactly the same chance as any other set of number being drawn. And that’s why it “never” happens. Because there are millions of other combinations just as likely to come up, it’s much more likely winning numbers won’t come up again simply because there are a hell of a lot more of them.

Think of a dice. If you throw a 6, then roll again, are you now more or less likely to get a 6? The 6 is still there on the dice exactly the same as it was before. So of course, it still has the same 1 in 6 chance of being rolled. There is more chance of not rolling a 6, but only because there are 5 other numbers there. Just like before you rolled the 6 in the first place.

So yes, any set of numbers can be repeated. But no, they are no more likely to be drawn.

The danger again is in the myth and fake knowledge spread by ignorant people. Some people think winning numbers are more likely to be drawn again, so they pick numbers that have won the jackpot before – which means sharing the jackpot with all of them if you pick those numbers too…

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19 Comments so far ↓

  • david

    Of course numbers will repeat, but out of the possible 14 million outcomes, you will never get 14 million outcomes.
    You will only get 2 thirds, approx 9.3million.
    This is the same with most games of chance.
    But this wont help you win the lotto.
    This is called law of third.


      Hmm, problem with the law of thirds is that it doesn’t work in the short term, or the long term…

      Take a dice roll for example. Are you really saying if you keep on rolling that dice two of the six numbers will NEVER come up..?

      Ultimately all combinations will get drawn on the lottery. But we’ll all be long dead by the time it happens.

  • david

    Yes we will all be dead before all combos come up, so with regards to the Lotto the best bet would be to pick a combo that has never been drawn I guess. But which one. To wittle it down I would say you could discount all numbers like 1,2,3,4,5,6 etc. Look at the most common sections. Everything is beatable with the right bank roll and knowledge.


      No, no and er, no. 🙂

      You’re making the same classic mistake most lottery system sellers rely on to peddle their junk.

      1. Combinations that have been drawn before are NOT less likely to appear again. Not even slightly. (Still not convinced? What about the same numbers two weeks in a row? Totally impossible, right? See Repeat Lottery Numbers In Bulgaria!)

      2. No combination is ANY less likely than any other. It doesn’t matter what pattern it makes, the odds are exactly the same. They’re just ping pong balls bouncing around in a big drum, so why would any combination be less likely? They don’t know what other balls have been drawn when they pop out.

  • Dan

    Keep playing the same numbers, if they don’t come in, then god don’t want you to win.

  • Derek

    Pick 6 random numbers and make sure they add up to at least 177 or greater, because most people pick numbers based on birthdays etc

    • Shelia

      Why do your lottery numbers have add up to 177 or greater?

      • Richard

        The “177 or greater” forces you to spread it out more, although I think that number is a bit high (I would say 145+ myself). People tend to pick “easily remembered” numbers like birthdays, but that eliminates half the numbers available (and therefore any winning combination that includes those numbers).

  • Katherine Marsh

    Dear Lottery Guy,

    I have been buying quick picks for the last three months for the California Super Lotto Plus Game. None of the tickets have been winners. Should I continue to buy quick picks or start choosing my own numbers.

    Thanks 🙂

  • James Kollie

    Hi Lottery adviser, I had been playing the lottery, even though I had won some money on my own numbers like the pick 4 lottery in Philadelphia, but since then I can’t win again. I play the same numbers for seven months, and no win for me. Can I know what to do next?

  • Grace Osabu-kle

    Is it wise to play lotto numbers that have occurred as winning numbers in previous draw? Is it possible that a winning number will ever occur again? In your lifetime.

    • LG

      Hmm, you didn’t read the article above before asking the question now did you ;-).

      In pure maths terms, past results have exactly the same chance as any other result of being drawn again.

      When you roll a dice and get a 6, your chances of getting 6 again in future are still 1-in-6. They haven’t changed.

  • Romulo Patricio

    Yes, some of the numbers that won in the previous draw may come up again. But, since lotto is random by nature, you may use one or two numbers of the previous draw and hope for the best. I play Philippine lotto 6/42 and I just won 2 3#s and 1 4-number prizes using a wheeling system of 13 #s, with a win guarantee that if you pick 3#s out of the 6 winning numbers, you will win at least a minimum of 3-number prize. This time I picked 4 numbers giving me above prizes.

  • Robert Mathison

    I just hit 5 of 6 in the Florida Lotto. I’ve been playing the same 5 sets of numbers every drawing for four months. Question is should I retire the winning set, or is there even a slim chance that set could win again?

  • Joe Dreaver

    Who picks the lottery numbers? And how do we know that they don’t have all the numbers people picked on their tickets right in front of them while they are picking the winning numbers ? I think it’s fair that the winning numbers got picked on national TV just so we know they’re random picked.

    • LG

      It depends which game it is. Some are picked using a mechanical draw machine, others use a computer. None are picked manually by humans :-). There is a lot of security around numbers being selected, including auditors to ensure things are done fairly.

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