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Ithuba lowers odds of winning the National Lottery

Ithuba Lowers Odds Of Winning The National Lottery

Posted by Vicky-Leandra Barnard | News

After increasing the number of balls from 49 to 52 in July this year, it is believed that Ithuba Holdings has lowered the chance of winning the jackpot in the South African National Lottery by about 45%.

Cian Cullinan, a masters student in mathematical finance at the University of Cape Town (UCT) who was one of the winning team members in the annual international Financial Mathematics Team Challenge this year, says the odds of winning a 49-ball Lotto game used to be 1 in 13,983,816. By increasing the balls to 52, like Ithuba Holdings did, results in odds of 1 in 20,358,520. Statistical consultant for the University of Johannesburg, Anesu Kuhudzai agrees, saying that by increasing the number of balls in a game naturally results in "a statistically significant difference" in the probability of winning the jackpot.

What Ithuba had to say

According to Business Day, Ithuba’s spokesman, Khensani Mabuza, says that the odds of winning the jackpot have increased, however, the overall odds of winning any prize at all are down from 1 in 53.7 to 1 in 38.2. There is also a new extra Lotto Plus3 game in every draw. Mabuza adds that this was done as a way to increase the size of the pot, and that there have been a number of winners since this was done. "The reasoning behind the change was to answer the call of our players to give bigger and better jackpots. Ithuba felt that unless participation increases, the only way to give our players what they wanted was to change the game matrix," she said.

"Since the inception of the game 17 years ago, the matrix has not changed, and in keeping with the call for bigger jackpots and international trends, the game has been upgraded to ensure that the jackpots grow bigger faster."

Ithuba lowers odds

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“Random” number generators

There have also been changes to the way numbers are drawn, and since September Ithuba has drawn numbers using a random number generator, said the Business Day. Ithuba claims to use a random number generator from Szrek2Solutions, which is certified by Gaming Laboratories International and used by lotteries worldwide. "It’s one of the best random number generators for lotteries and also for its reliability with 100% availability," says Mabuza. Cullinan wants to know exactly what kind of random number generator is used, as there are true random numbers and pseudo-random numbers. True random numbers can be made by extracting randomness from a physical phenomenon. Certain computer chips can also measure this and "generate true random numbers but they’re very, very rare". Pseudo-random numbers are generated through algorithms, but not all of them are equal, and each random number needs to be statistically independent. Cullinan says it is necessary for tests to be done to check that pseudo-random number generators are "random enough".

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