"It was in my horoscope": why lottery winners think they won

Blind luck... or maybe not?

Feather floating on gray background

We all know that lotteries are random - the operators would be in big trouble if they weren't - but we still have a tendency to believe that there's a pattern.

Many lottery players are convinced that, for example, certain retailers are particularly lucky. In the US, research has shown that stores selling a winning ticket experience a boost in sales of as much as 38% over the following week.

Of course, most of the people contributing to this boost won't get to share in the luck.

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But when we do win, it's natural to look for a reason - and many big winners are convinced that their prize was pre-ordained all along.

We look at what lottery winners believe was responsible for their luck.

A fortune cookie
Three years ago, New Yorker Emma Duvoll opened a fortune cookie at a noodle shop to find a list of five numbers. She normally played the Powerball lottery once a month, and this time decided to use the numbers she'd been given - and won $2 million. A year earlier, Massachusetts man William Johnson had a fortune cookie predict he would 'come into a lot of gold', and thought it worth buying a scratchcard; he walked away with a $1 million prize.

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A feather

Shortly after Susan Crossland's father died she found a white feather, which she took as a sign that he was watching over her from above. Two years later, in 2014, she found another one, and took it as a signal to play her father's lucky lottery numbers. She did – and within a week won a Lotto jackpot of £1.2 million.

A horoscope
One day in 2006, Rachel Bryan read not one but two horoscopes predicting a big win. Even though she didn't really believe in horoscopes, she bought a Lotto ticket, which netted her a whacking £2.6 million. Similarly, in 2013, a newspaper horoscope predicted that a Pisces and a Taurus would team up to win. Best friends Carly Wiggett and Becky Witt were encouraged by Carly's mum to have a shot - and bagged a EuroMillions jackpot of £336,277.

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A psychic
The year before last, a psychic predicted that Lynne Groves would soon never need to worry about money again. She forgot about the comment for months - until a £1 million Lotto win brought it back to mind. And back in 2011 psychic Ocean Kinge put her money where her mouth was by setting up a syndicate that won £1 million just a few months later.

Cynthia Stafford is convinced she won the California Mega Millions lottery because she wanted it enough. In 2007, she says, she wrote down the amount '$112 million' on a piece of paper and spent hours visualising what her life would be like after winning. Four months later, she found out.

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Biggest UK lottery winners