Friday, March 30, 2012

Mega-Millions and Lottries: President Oama Wants to Take Them Away from You

See the previous article. This was my ALTERNATE headline.

What abut this 640 million dollar lottery, that President Obama would like for you not to have the excitement of dreaing about?

No. I did not buty a ticket. I have never played thelottrery, except to participate in "pools" (at the urging of otehrs). However, I did minor in math at New Mexcio State Univesity. Ordinarily, the odds of "winning", in ANY form of gamblin against the "house", that lyou are facing a BAD bet. This particular lottery ticket is probably a GOOD BET.

CNN put it this way (frfor once probably getting it pretty much right):

Ordinarily, a $1 lottery ticket is worth LESS than $1. The "houes" is taking out its percentage, and is not paying out to "winners" as much as it is takng from "losers". The PROGRESSIVE feature of this lottery, however, mwans that (for this situation only) the state will likely pay out MORE MONEY than people are spending oon lottery tickets. CNN--undoubtedly using some expert on statistics--has calculated that a lottery ticket--again, only for this particular situation--is "worth $3. No sane person, of course, would PAY $3, if they are able to get to an official outlet, because you can buy a ticket for $1. You can actualy get a rough idea of this by simply comparing the amount of money "invested" by the entire public, with the amount of money that will be received by the entire public (the 640 mililion or so). The ODDS agains winning remain the same : abbout 176 MILLIION to one against yyou. But ou will be in the unique situatin, buying a ticket, that theese odds are actually in your FACOR (because the amount you stand to win is so large). Now the chance of MULTIPLE winning tickets makes the exact odds a little tricky . CNN presumably--thatis, you might presume that if you did not know how bad CNN is--took the cahnnce of multiple winning tickets into aaccount in saying that you had FAVORABLE odds. And you still have only a 1 in 176, miilion chance of wining with ONE ticket. Theoretically, of course, a SYNBDICATE culd try to buy up ALL POSSIBLE NUMBERS. A syndicate actually did that once, and WON. (althugh it turned out they did not actually cover every possible number). If CNN is correct, youmight think that means that you are GUARANTEED a 3-1 PROFIT on your investment. That is obviusly not ture. The more money that is "invested", the more the "real" odds turn against you. lAnd then there is LUCK. What if 100 people share the WINNING numbers. This may be against the odds, but it COULD happen. If 100 SYNDICATES buy up enough tickets to ensure a winning ticket, it WOULD happen. Nevertheless, this is a situatin where you MAY have the pleasure of having the oddsin YOIUR FAVOR--justifying a flyer for some aount you can afford--always remembering thqat the odds agaisnt any one ticket being a winning ticket still being 176 million to one.

When I say that the odds MMAY end up in your favor on this particular lottery, does that mean that the "house" loses? Of course not. Just like a"progressive' machinne in Vegas, you are getting these "better odds' because PREVIOUS PEOPLE have gotten WORSE ODDS (contributing money to the ultimate payout). In fact, in Vegas the house COULD LOSE on a run of "luck" by people gambling. The 'progressive" machines will only pay the "progressiv" amount out ONCE (until it bilds up again), but there an always CAN be MULTIPLE winners. This is NOT TURE in state lotteries, because the sate lottery is set up so that the state NEVER LOSES. If there are multiple wintters, then the AmOUNT of each "win" is reduced. In a fundamental way, you are getting a BETTER deal, in general, in Vegas. You should certainly not play the lottery ,excpet maybe on 1 $1 or $5 flyer for "fun", UNLESS you have someting like this favorable situation . But what else did you expect of GOVERNMENT--another reason I am no fan of state lotteries.

Good luck. I, of ocurse, cannot win, because I did not play.

P.S. No proofreading or spell checkng (bad eyesight).

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