British scientists say they have found a way to make sure you win the lottery by buying 27 tickets.
There will be a National Lottery event in Liverpool, England, on May 7. John Stuart C. Wilson.
  • A group of experts said that these 27 sets of numbers will always win the UK’s National Lottery.
  • They figured that those tickets, which cost around $69, had everything they needed for a minimum win.
  • Plus, they said it was still very likely to cost more than it would pay off in prizes.

A study from UK mathematicians in July said that they had found the number of tickets you would need to buy in the National Lottery to be sure of winning: 27.

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However, that doesn’t mean you’ll definitely win enough to pay for the tickets, the scientists said.

The Lotto is the main game of the UK’s National Lottery. It is held twice a week, and six numbers between 1 and 59 are chosen at random. In December, the lottery said that its next prize would be a record-high $28.9 million, which would not be taxed. A little over 1 in 45 million people will win it.

David Stewart and David Cushing are two mathematicians at the University of Manchester. They can’t win the jackpot, but in a study from July, they said they figured out the least number of tickets you need to be sure of any win, even if it’s just a free play.

In terms of math, they came up with a list of 27 unique tickets that would guarantee some kind of win. They put those out there (below), but the New Scientist says they’ve since found other sets of numbers that also meet the requirements.

A grid that shows the 27 sets of six numbers that must be picked in order to win the UK National Lottery main game. The University of Manchester's David Stewart and David Cushing.
A grid that shows the 27 sets of six numbers that must be picked in order to win the UK National Lottery main game. The University of Manchester’s David Stewart and David Cushing.

That’s £54 in costs, since each ticket costs £2, which is about $2.50.

Anyone who picks two correct numbers in any Lotto game gets a free ticket. If they pick three correct numbers, they win about $38. If you get all six, you’ll get a piece of the cash.

Finite geometry is a branch of mathematics that involves putting the numbers 1 through 59 in pairs or triplets on a set of geometric shapes. This is what the researchers did to find the combinations.

Then, lines are put between each set of numbers to make a run of six numbers, which is one ticket. They said that you need 27 of those to cover all 59 numbers and make sure that at least one pair will match.

The part with math. The University of Manchester's David Cushing and David Stewart.
The part with math. The University of Manchester’s David Cushing and David Stewart.

Peter Rowlett, a mathematician at Sheffield Hallam University in the UK, has said that people who use these numbers will still not get their money back 99% of the time.

Another thing is that if more people play the above sets of numbers, the jackpot will be split between more people.

The researchers told the New Scientist that there was one time when a member of their group won $2,243 with the 27 numbers.

Cushing said, “He’s really lucky with it.” But the coworker still hasn’t bought them lunch to say thanks, he added.

The two people aren’t really making money. They checked the 27 tickets in July and found two balls on three of them. They were given three free tickets, but they didn’t use them.

Even though they’ve been working with numbers, the mathematicians say they no longer want to use the combos themselves.

“I came to the conclusion that whenever we were involved, they didn’t make any money, and then they made money when we decided not to put them on,” Cushing told the science magazine. “That’s not very mathematical, but it seemed to be what was happening.”

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