When You Win the Lottery for the Third Time - Atlas Obscura
Our new kids' book is on sale! Shop now.

When You Win the Lottery for the Third Time

A Canadian couple has gotten lucky over the years.

Barbara and Douglas Fink.
Barbara and Douglas Fink. Western Canada Lottery Corporation

Playing the lottery is unwise and not something you should waste your time and money on, unless of course you realize it’s unwise and not something you should waste your time and money on, and you decide to play anyway, mostly because your life has reached a point where you’re familiar with making a poor decision or two, and why not make one more, because, for a short while at least, you will feel something like hope, before, inevitably, you once again revert to your ordinary state of ennui, now tinged with a small new regret. 

But imagine, for a second, being Douglas Fink, who just won the lottery for the third time, officials in Canada announced this week. Fink’s prior wins came in 1989, when he split a $93,000 prize with four friends, and in 2010, when he and his wife Barbara won $75,000. The Finks’ latest win easily dwarfed those: around $6 million. 

They won the money in February using the numbers 9, 21, 25, 26, 31, and 41, and plan to use their pile of loonies conservatively: caring for family, a new house, maybe some travel. You know, non-flashy choices for a couple who might reasonably think they have a chance at winning the lottery yet again. 

And lest this story inspire you to now go out and again try your luck with some fresh numbers—deeply under the sway of the gambler’s fallacy—consider the sheer, astronomical unlikelihood of the Finks’ multiple wins, and perhaps buy a candy bar instead.