Thursday, February 16, 2012

Georgia's Luck Revisited

According to my article awhile back on mapping the luck plane, Georgia is not a particularly lucky state. In fact, when the data points originally compiled by Men's Health magazine are placed on a map, the entire southeast fares rather poorly. In one respect, though, Georgia has the other states in the nation beat - the prevalence of individuals who have won multiple lottery jackpots.

"Georgia is a very lucky state," Georgia Lottery spokeswoman Tandi Reddick tells Yahoo News. "There have been quite a few repeat Georgia Lottery winners who have Lady Luck on their side. It's fantastic for our players and very exciting for us."

Even more amazing, Reddick provided Yahoo News with no less than 15 examples of repeat Georgia lottery winners.

The most recent two-time winner is CNN producer Jennifer Hauser, 29, of Atlanta. Playing the instant scratch off game 50X The Money, Hauser took home a check for $1 million. Incredibly, Hauser's win came less than three months after she took home a $100,000 prize on another state lotto game, Georgia Lottery Black.

From this it would seem that there's some sort of problem in the Men's Health data in terms of mapping out general areas. One obvious issue is that data was only collected for one city in the entire state, Atlanta, and these winners might very well have lived in other areas. There may also be other problems depending on the exact methodology used in the study, which was not disclosed by the magazine. For example, Reno and Las Vegas came out high in part on the strength of high gambling winnings, but I have no idea if any attempt was made to account for the number of winners versus the number of gambling transactions - and if you don't do that, cities where gambling is big business come out ahead of other metropolitan areas even if the number of winners is proportionally the same.

The reality is that such flaws in the data set may render it useless for any sort of meaningful statistical analysis, which is a shame. At first it looked quite promising.

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