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Beastly number for N.J. lottery: 666

Inquirer staff writer Peter Mucha reports:

The three digits of the Apocalypse came up today in Jersey for the first time in 13 years.

That's right, 666, "the number of beast," according to the Book of Revelations. Read anything eerie into this?

Hmm ... it is the day after the Summer Solstice. Maybe witches conjured up a way to curse the lottery?

The triple-6 last came up on Oct 28, 1996 -- just three days before Halloween. In 1994 and 1992, it came up at Winter Solstice (more or less)!

Gives you the chills, doesn't it?

We didn't think so.  The number also came up on other humdrum dates: June 3, 1996; March 15, 1993.

Yes, it's odd that such a long time has passed since the number last came up. With 730 drawings a year (732 in a leap year), and 1,000 possible three-digit-combinations (000 to 999), you'd figure, on average, a sequence would show up every 16 months or so.

Take 888, which showed up 12 times in the last seven years, according to the New Jersey Lottery's online numbers search.

In Pennsylvania, 666 has come up five times since 2002. Then again, 666 came up three times in 1994 in Jersey, And three other times in that decade. Moral of the story (we hope): Random numbers are unpredictable.

By the way, 666 paid out $240.50 on a 50-cent ticket.

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