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Gambling by Richard Sidaway Human beings have spent large amounts of money trying to beat the laws of probability for centuries. More than thirty countries currently have legalized gambling in the form of national lotteries or private casinos. In the last ten years this addictive pastime has been generating millions more via the internet.
So how do you become a successful gambler? – back in 1873, engineer Joseph Jaggers won $300,000 dollars in three days at the casino in Monte Carlo by noticing that the mechanical faults in their roulette wheels made certain numbers come up more often than others.
More recently, an Australian wrote a software programme to help him spot winners on the horses in Hong Kong and has supposedly won $150 million over the last 20 years. What’s the biggest lottery jackpot ever? – the record is currently $350 million, won by two people in the USA in May 2000. This, of course, is peanuts. It costs $444 million a year just to keep an aircraft carrier in the water…The biggest single win on a national lottery was $314.9 million in the Powerball game in 2002 by a man who had already made a fortune in the sewer business.
Another American won $39.7 million from a slot machine in a Las Vegas casino in 2003 after putting in about $100 worth of coins. The lucky man had actually only gone to watch a basketball match. Why do lotteries exist? – often to make money for the state. The Chinese had a lottery over 2000 years ago to raise money to build the Great Wall. King James I of England set one up to finance the new colony of Virginia in America in the 17th century. The British Museum in London was also built this way.