People count on 'lucky' numbers

First published in Business Daily

NEW research from Betway.com, the online gambling firm, reveals that 13 million people consider themselves to be lucky, enjoying good fortune beyond their control.

The nation’s “luckiest” number is seven, with more than 4.3 million Brits (nine per cent) claiming it as their numerical lucky charm. Seven is said to be David Beckham’s lucky number and is also considered a lucky number throughout much of Asia.

The nation’s second luckiest number is 13, selected by 1.9 million people, particularly interesting, given that 13 is traditionally considered unlucky. There is even a phobia - Triskaidekaphobia - associated with a fear of the number.

Odd numbers are overwhelmingly more popular as “lucky” numbers than even numbers.

Nation’s top five luckiest numbers:

  • Seven (4.3 million)
  • Thirteen (1.9 million)
  • Three (1.3 million)
  • Eight (1.2 million)
  • Five (1.1million)

More than 10 million people (22%) do not walk under ladders for fear of catching bad luck. A further nine million people (19%) believe breaking a mirror brings seven years bad luck, while 8.7 million people (18%) will not open an umbrella in the house for fear of bad omens.

Richard Wiseman, Professor of the Public Understanding of Psychology at the University of Hertfordshire, said: “People can create luck and good fortune by changing their outlook on life, focussing on grabbing opportunities and creating positive expectations.

“People also create their own superstitions and rituals in the belief it will change their fortunes. For many people, wearing a lucky football shirt or not putting their top on until they run on to the pitch will change their mood and provide a real boost in performance during the game.

“It is possible through neural programming to think yourself lucky.”

Betway’s research findings might also help account for the odd behaviour people display. If you see someone carefully picking their way across the pavement on tiptoes they might be one of the 1.9 million Brits that avoid stepping on cracks to avoid bad luck or one of the two million Brits that avoid walking across three drain covers.

People are also superstitious about good luck, with 2.7 million clinging to a childhood belief that if they blow out all the candles on their birthday cake in one breath, their wish will come true. More than 800,000 people also believe in the power of lucky underwear.

Richard Akitt, managing director, The Betway Group, said: “Millions of people have rituals and superstitions to try and improve their fortune. We hear of people betting on specific numbers or wearing lucky clothes when they play because they think it will help them win the jackpot.

“For many people, thinking lucky improves their lives, as they adopt a positive impact, which carries throughout their work, leisure and social life.”

More unusual superstitions and rituals identified by the research include:

  • “Female clothes hung out with pink clothes pegs, male clothes with blue clothes pegs.”
  • “If someone visits they must leave through the same door as they came in by otherwise they will take my luck out with them!”
  • “Do not cut my nails on a Sunday.”
  • “Don’t shave on a match day.”
  • “I have many different pairs of studs and change the colour if I have a bad day!”

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