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What are your county's lottery odds?

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (WCIA) -- Do you really have a better chance at winning by carefully choosing the location you buy your tickets at? The Illinois Lottery submitted more data to calculate the odds.

DISCLAIMER: In theory, your chances of winning the lottery are the same, no matter where you buy a ticket from.

That being said, based on the data, a picture can be painted of how well some counties seem to be distributing luck better than others. A records request to the Illinois Lottery provided a list of the places in Central Illinois where all winning tickets worth $5,000 or more were sold in the last five years. A map of them looks pretty swell. Certainly, you can see some hot spots.

But UI Statistics Department Chair Doug Simpson says that's only half the story.

"What it most likely means is that they sell a lot more tickets than other locations," he says.

Simpson says, in other words, the list of tickets is the numerator. A denominator is needed. 

Another request provided information for the total number of tickets sold in each county within the same time period. Dividing each county's total by the number of winners provides the win ratio.

So which county has the best luck?

Over the last five years, Edgar County seems to. History shows the odds average at 1 in 51,000. Vermilion County came in dead last, averaging 1 in 220,000.

Again, this is just a five-year period with a particular set of data. Simpson says it's a better analysis than just looking at where tickets were sold, but it still doesn't tell the whole story. It doesn't take into account naturally occurring statistical variations in ticket distribution or people's buying habits.

So, can you use math to figure out how to win the lottery? Not really. But this could be as close as you're going to get. 

Based on this set of data, the following win ratios were calculated for each county:  

  • CASS: 1 in 71,365
  • CHAMPAIGN: 1 in 148,065
  • CHRISTIAN: 1 in 132,274
  • CLARK: 1 IN 129,244
  • COLES: 1 in 55,691
  • CUMBERLAND: 1 in 128,465
  • DEWITT: 1 in 77,043
  • DOUGLAS: 1 in  70,290
  • EDGAR: 1 in 51,024
  • EFFINGHAM: 1 in 83,260
  • FORD: 1 in  103,357
  • IROQUOIS: 1 in 185,311
  • LOGAN: 1 in 75,015
  • MACON: 1 in 192,585
  • MENARD: 1 in 77,110
  • MORGAN: 1 in 77,151
  • MOULTRIE: 1 in 185,066
  • PIATT: 1 in 59,794
  • SANGAMON: 1 in 136,990
  • SHELBY: 1 in 87,287
  • VERMILION: 1 in 220,395 

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