Pennsylvania Lottery suffers after freak draw

The Pennsylvania Lottery’s Big 4 draw on Wednesday night resulted in a freak 7-7-7-7 set of numbers being drawn. This draw meant that a total of $7.77million was divided between 3,107 winning ticket holders.

The payout was an unbelievable 1,573 per cent of total sales for the draw, meaning that Pennsylvania Lottery paid out $7.2million more in prizes than it took in for the drawing.

Pennsylvania Lottery spokesperson Kirstin Alvanitakis said, “We definitely lost money on the Big 4, that’s for sure, but it’s great for our players. People love to play quadruple numbers.”

Big 4’s winning amounts are fixed, rather than being a cut of the takings, which cannot guarantee a profit for the state lottery. A winning 50-cent wager fetches $2,500, a $1 bet $5,000.

7-7-7-7 is extraordinarily popular for such an unlikely drawing, only two other times has 7-7-7-7 come up since Big 4 began in November 1980.

Big 4 draws typically produce far fewer winners. Wednesday’s midday drawing had 104 winners, and Tuesday evening’s game was won by 250 people.

Luckily for the state, quadruples – popular with players – are rare. The last quadruple drawn was 2-2-2-2 on Sept. 2, 2008. All together, the 1,236 winners raked in $3.09 million.

Alvanitakis added, “We operate our numbers games with the expectation that when triples or quadruples hit we will lose money. Drawing triples and quadruples is great for the large number of our players who enjoy playing these number combinations.”

Despite the huge payout for the most recent draw, Big 4 still made money in March.

Published: April 6, 2010

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