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For a science fiction story involving time travel, where the protagonists can go back exactly 33 years from 2013 to 1980, and are looking for a way to make a lot of money quickly:

Is there any way today (well, in 2013, close enough) to find a list of winning lottery numbers (in any country) from 1980? I've been checking such lottery records as I can find on Google, and none of them seem to go back further than the 90s or thereabouts.

(Granted, other forms of information are available back that far like lists of winners of the Grand National and the FA Cup, but I'm curious about the situation with lottery numbers.)

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closed as off-topic by Aify, L.Dutch, Vincent, DaaaahWhoosh, Bellerophon Jul 1 '17 at 20:10

This question appears to be off-topic. The users who voted to close gave this specific reason:

  • "This question does not appear to be about worldbuilding, within the scope defined in the help center." – Aify, L.Dutch, Vincent, Bellerophon
If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

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    $\begingroup$ I was able to find ot with a simple search on Google. Why arent the last 25 years enough? $\endgroup$ – Vincent Jul 1 '17 at 5:24
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    $\begingroup$ Newspapers published lottery results. Go a public library and look up their copies of old newspapers. )Print media still going strong. $\endgroup$ – a4android Jul 1 '17 at 11:09
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In the early 1990's there were statistical analyses programs sold that had historical lottery/powerball draws going back. The simpler theory was that knowing that certain numbers had come up with greater frequency than others either showed you the game was not truly random, or else the lower frequency numbers were somehow "due".

Before the consumer internet this sort of series data and similarly, stock prices and horse/dog racing, was manually maintained and sold at often high prices.

If your protagonists know exactly when they're travelling back, they only need to access the local newspapers for the period of travel. o.m.'s excellent answer suggests microfilm. Many major daily newspapers are imaged and available online as well just not yet text searchable.

If you can handle a 1990 travel date you could also consider accessing a FidoNet Echomail archive. Actually someone in 1990 is bound to have published the previous 10 years winning lotto numbers back then so you can have your 1980 travel date.

Usenet was founded in 1980 and rec.gambling was created in 1990 alt.gambling was founded one or two years earlier. Again there should be an archive somewhere of the data, so unless you want a quick and easy search for your protagonists, making an obscure find is one of their quests.

Another idea is to find a lottery that was superseded/rolled-up into a bigger lottery like MegaMillions. Search for results on the earlier lottery.

Lastly sports betting in the 1980's was huge in the Australia, UK, USA and Middle East. Especially Thoroughbred Racing. That data is easier to find. It was not unusual for Group 1 races to have individual million dollar wagers. A 1980 $100 note can be turned into several million in one day.

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  • There are microfilm archives of newspapers. These include full pictures of the pages, not just the text as in some digital archives.
  • Sometimes old newspapers are preserved as historical documents and later resold. If the time traveler can adjust the departure date within the year, e.g. try to find out if anybody has kept a "Reagan wins" headline complete with the rest of the newspaper and is willing to sell.
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