## 31 March 2012

"I know the odds are really not in my favor, but why not," she said.

"When it gets as big as it is now, you'd be nuts not to play," he said. "You have to take a chance on Lady Luck."

"My 401(k) is worth so little. My only chance to retire is Mega Millions," he says.

"They say the third time is the charm, so I'm bound to win, you know," she says.

And this promotional blurb: "Plenty of people don't win the lottery the first few thousand times they play."

1. My favorite is a line from a James McMurtry song..."Gimme five more somebodies gotta win; somebodies gotta win it happens all the time"

2. Enter once, the least you can wager. That's your best chance. After that, don't even bother the odds only get worse. As in, from all but impossible to never-gonna-happen.

3. I saw the odds given at 1 in 176 million to win the jackpot.

If that's the case, and you were somehow able to freeze time and enter this drawing every day with a single entry, it would take you almost 482,000 YEARS before you are almost certain to win. (176 million days is 481,872 years)

4. I once read that you have a better chance of being hit by lightning AND eaten by a shark than of winning the lottery. I used to buy tickets periodically, years ago, but stopped when I heard the axiom: "Lotteries are a tax on the foolish". I don't know about you guys, but I feel like I already pay enough taxes! ;-)

1. a tax on the mathematically challenged

5. Although the odds of winning were 1 in 176 million (with a \$1 ticket), the payoff of \$640 million made it actually not a bad investment. You'd normally triple your money playing bets like that, were they to come along every day.

This is not an argument to generally play the lottery. The only reason the jackpot was this high is because a lot of suckers placed bad bets when the payoff was not worth the investment.

-Chuck

p.s. My ticket didn't win.

p.p.s. My favorite quote in the news was from a guy that said even if he didn't win, it was well worth a couple bucks for the several days of excitement and fantasy he got in return.

1. Exactly right. A single ticket delivers rights to a several days of fantasizing, followed by disappointment, or if you bought too many tickets, despair. It's not a steep price. On the other hand, NOT buying the ticket delivers to one rights to an indefinite period of intellectual smugness, an even cheaper bargain!

6. I've always been convinced that my first lottery ticket will be a winner. I just can't bring myself to spend the money to find out.

7. We buy one ticket per drawing when it hits "something huge" - over 100 million is usually our threshold. If we don't play, we'll never win, and \$1 twice a week is a small enough price to pay!

8. For about the same price as playing twice a week you could get universal health care. I hope that everyone who considers it "a small price to pay" to feel a bit giddy for a few minutes would apply the same logic in all cases.