Maybe Jim Carrey had something to do with it.
In the movie “Bruce Almighty,” Carrey’s character is granted divine power by God himself. So when he answers the prayers of 11,000 people to win the lottery, the pot is split so each person ends up with just $17.
While providence may have had nothing to with Tuesday’s Fantasy 5 game, a record 98 people selected the night’s winning numbers. Instead of the usual $50,000 to $250,000 payout, the jackpot awarded each winner roughly the amount of a mortgage payment: $1,992.32.
The winning numbers – 1-3-5-7-9 – are played by people in a hurry, people who pick birthdays and people who aren’t very bright, said Todd Northrop, who operates LotteryPost.com.
“If you play the numbers everybody else plays, you’re not going to win very much money,” said Northrop, who advises players to include at least one number above 31 so they’ll separate themselves from those people who play birthdays and will be less likely to have to split a jackpot.
Vince Maiorino, manager of News Plus in Tamarac, one of South Florida’s busiest lottery venues, said: “I tell folks they’re better off just getting a quick pick.”
The Florida Lottery’s Shelly Safford said Fantasy 5 saw nine occasions of 100-plus winners from 1989 to 2001, but that was when players had to select from a pool of 26 numbers. In July 2001, the pool increased to 36. Since then, and before Tuesday, no more than 47 people had won the game in a single night. Those players each won a little more than $4,500.
Although the state doesn’t collect data on which numbers are played, Safford speculates the most-played sequence is 1-2-3-4-5. It has never hit.
“I’d think we’d have the same situation, with even more winners,” she said.
The odds of selecting the correct five of 36 numbers are 1 in 376,992, confirms Jason Gershman, an assistant professor of mathematics and statistics at Nova Southeastern University. He says the odds of one set of numbers hitting are no greater or less than the odds of any other set.
“So it makes sense to pick numbers that nobody else does,” Gershman said. “I’m sure some players woke up this morning winning less than $2,000 and thought it was kind of an insult.”
Safford said lottery payouts derive from that day’s ticket sales. The lottery, which is operated by the state, pays out about 50 to players to players and uses most of the rest to fund state education.
Broward and Palm Beach counties each had 11 winners Tuesday, while Miami-Dade had 17. One Stuart venue reported seven wins, which could be one player picking the numbers seven times.Copyright © 2015, South Florida