Rich Congressman Won Lottery for the Third Time: Lucky or Conspiracy?

I'm thoroughly convinced that only two types of people win the lottery: the poor who shouldn't be playing in the first place but do so in large number and the very rich who don't need the money but buy the tickets anyhow.

Case in point: Jim Sensenbrenner, a US Representative from Wisconsin and a millionaire (he is heir to the Kimberly-Clark fortune) won the lottery THREE times!

The conservative Republican first hit it big in 1997 with a $250,000 jackpot in the District of Columbia lottery. Then, last spring, he won a $1,000 consolation prize in the Wisconsin lottery, before winning another $1,000 in that lottery last week.

I call conspiracy, though it's possible that Jim, who spends $10 a week on lottery tickets, is just a really, really, really lucky guy: Link | Photo from Sensenbrenner's entry at Wikipedia.

While we're on the subject, the WI State Lottery Pick 3 on Halloween (Oct. 31) of the year 1996 was:

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um... he's a Congressman, not a Senator!

Also, considering he spends about $500 / year on the lottery, hitting two $1000 prizes isn't an example of tremendous luck. Even the $250,000 prize he won 10 years ago was nice, but it wasn't a typical multi-million dollar "jackpot" by any means. If he hit 3 such multi-million $ prizes, I'd be a little more suspicious...

As for your assertion that either dirt poor people or filthy rich are typical lottery winners, I'd guess there's substantial validity to it. Both groups will probably purchase a "greater than average" number of tickets. The rich buy them because they can afford to play for a little excitement and the poor play because they are too stupid to realize that it is a poor investment of their limited resources. Since each of these groups is over-represented in the "purchasing column", they are over-represented in the "winning column" as well. As the slogan goes, "Ya gotta be in it to win it"
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They buy the winner tickets to the real winners for a little of extra buck (the prize and a little bit more) and then they can clean their undeclared money.
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WTF? 2000$ in ten years. If the 'article' is true he spent 5200$ (10years * 52 weeks * 10 $) so in reality he hasn't won anything since 1997, he lost 3200$!
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Yeah, if he spends $10 a week then winning a $1000 prize every few years isn't unlikely. Even if he only spent $1 a week it wouldn't be any big deal.
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You could just calculate the probability. All you need is the chance to win the lottery and the number of participants playing each turn. Do not make the error of looking at how improbably a *single* person winning is, but how probably *any one person* winning each round is. And even when the chances at winning lottery are very small, in almost every turn -- at least with German lottery -- *someone* wins. So the one is likely, the other is unlikely. So -- how likely is it that *any one person* wins twice? How likely is thrice?
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Alex >> As you can figure out from the calculation I started to count AFTER the first 250k because to win one time isn't that unlikely and the article mentioned a conspiracy and to loose 3200$ in 10 years doesn't meet my requirments for that.
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Winning one time isn't that unlikely? What? And how come I never win or 99.9999999999% other people who play.

No no no, winning the lottery is a VERY unlikely event. Winning two more times is EXTREMELY unlikely.
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The lottery, any lottery, has some weird statistics. Just recently a couple won their second million using the exact same numbers. How likely is that?

Nothing suprises me when it comes to winning. Out here in California we have a second chance drawing using a mail in coupon, to go in and play a special game on the televised lottery show. I've sent in literally hundreds of them over the years. Never have been chosen. I've seen people go three and even four times. Some people are just super lucky.
I've stopped playing altogether because I'm the exact opposite of super lucky. I never win anything and I finally got it through my head I was never going to win.
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