Stephen M. Stigler
Ernest DeWitt Burton Distinguished Service Professor
Department of Statistics and the College
Member: Committee on Conceptual and Historical Studies of Science

French Lottery Data

Two files of data from the French lottery from 1758 to 1834 can be downloaded below. They may be used without fee for any scholarly purpose, including scholarly publication or classroom use, providing it is stated that they are used with my permission and this web page is cited (http://www.stat.uchicago.edu/~stigler/French_Lottery_Data.html). The data are in the form of text files. The first file (Winning Draws) consists of 6606 lines with five numbers in each line, separated by tabs. The second file (Winning Quaterne Bets) has 327 lines, each with four numbers, separated by tabs. There are no labels or header row.

 

Some background:

The French lottery of this period was an early form of Lotto. Each drawing consisted of selecting at random without replacement five numbers from the integers 1, 2, 3, ...., 90. They are given here in the order in which they were drawn, so the first number in each row was the first number drawn, and so forth. Prior to the draw, players would place bets by specifying either a single number (called an "Extrait"), a pair of numbers (an "Ambe"), three numbers (a "Terne"), four numbers (a "Quaterne"), or five numbers (a "Quine"). Each such bet would be treated separately. If the numbers of the bet came up in any order among the five drawn, the player was paid a multiple of the amount bet, the multiples being:

An Extrait -- 15
An Ambe -- 270
A Terne -- 5,500
A Quaterne -- 75,000
A Quine -- 1,000,000

Two other bets were sometimes permitted, the "Extrait "déterminé where a single number was bet with the place order among the five numbers drawn was specified as well as the number, and the multiple was 70 rather than 15, and the "Ambe déteriminé where again order was specified and the multiple was 5,100 instead of 270.

A full description of the background and analysis may be found in the article: Casanova, 'Bonaparté and the Loterie de France, by Stephen M. Stigler, to appear in Journal de la Société Française de Statistique, 2003, Vol. 144.

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