The odds to win the lottery are astronomical. For 2 people to win the same lottery isn’t unheard of, but it is uncommon. So what about 110 people? You might be thinking it’s impossible, but it did happen. How did 110 lucky individuals all win the same lottery?
The odds of getting struck by lightning for an average person living in the U.S are 1 in 750,000. The odds of winning the lottery are even higher. For this particular lotto, those odds were more than triple a lightning strike — 1 in 3 million. If the odds were so high, how did 110 people manage to pick the same winning numbers? Was it fraud or was the system rigged?
Fortune Smiled Upon Them
No fraud was involved. It was all thanks to a simple fortune cookie confection that are commonly given out American Chinese restaurants.
When the results began coming in from the 2005 March 30th lotto drawing, lottery officials believed a massive fraud was underway. While there had been only one winner of the $13.8 million jackpot, a record 110 players were claiming the runner-up prizes of either $100,000 or $500,000 (depending on if they paid a dollar extra for the bonus power play ball).
After some investigation, the lotto officials found no fraud involved and paid the claimants. They found that the winners had played the numbers (22, 28, 32, 33 and 39) they had recently received from a fortune cookie made by Wonton Food Inc. The company produces 4 million cookies a day branded under different brands. That is how those lucky numbers ended up in so many people’s minds.
Not everyone will play numbers suggested to them. But a great many do. After an episode of Lost aired winning numbers on the show, thousands of people attempted to play those same numbers. They ‘lost’.
Though, for the people that won that particular lottery, it was certainly their lucky numbers for the day.
The Cookie Is A Lie
Fortune cookies are not actually of Chinese origin. They’re were “reinvented” by a Japanese businessman in San Francisco sometime in the early 1900s.
Illustrations from Japan during the 1800s depict thin wafers being grilled over coals. When the wafers were half-way through the cooking process, a “fortune” was placed inside of them and folded over. They were then sold by street vendors to hungry patrons who walked by. The Japanese businessman rediscovered the cookie and began serving them in his restaurant with tea.
Despite being served in Chinese restaurants throughout America, fortune cookies are not served in China. In fact, most of the world’s fortune cookies are produced and consumed in the United States.