Thursday, June 24, 2010

The Lottery

You can't be struck by lightning if you never leave the house. The odds of winning the lottery might be one in 28 million, but you can't win anything if you don't buy a ticket. Personally I don't play the Lotto, but I couldn't help but notice that they have sold $124 million dollars in tickets for the most recent $50 million dollar grand prize. Many Lotto players are not discouraged by the long odds, playing their entire lives without winning so much as a consolation prize. But I suppose we shouldn't be too hard on Lotto players, who contribute a significant amount of money to our government's revenue. Lotteries are a cash cow for government, and if we outlawed Lottos for their impossible odds of victory, we would be depriving the public treasury of a major source of revenue.

So march on brave Lottery soldiers, keep living the dream.


  1. It's more the dream than the outcome, we need something to keep us going.....:)

  2. Lotteries are voluntary taxation on people who are bad at mathematics.

  3. The odds are 1 in 85,900,584

    Use the combinations calculator here ... with n = 49 and r = 7

  4. The Super 7 on Friday is just an escapist dream and well worth the two bucks at the start of the weekend.
    Then you've got another night of drinking to brace yourself for Monday morning.

    But, I am one of those assholes who would go back to work after the weekend. The things that I am learning there are more valuable than anything I could gain as a lottery winner.
    Aside from seed capital.

  5. Meh. I'm good at math and I have a job. I buy a single 6/49 every Saturday and I bought a Lotto Max the last two weeks and I'll be buying one this week because of the jackpot. I'm sure the financial planners will say I would be better off putting that $7 into an RRSP because it will be worth $12.31 when I retire in 30 years assuming my lungs and liver make it that far, but I'll just observe that I don't miss the money and there's a reason financial planners are not people who are invited to parties.

  6. I wish the money went to charities or hospitals or something, instead of general coffers of the governments.

    I prefer to play the Lakeshore Hospital Duck Race or the Palliative Care Centre lottery.

  7. Okay, I just found out from a friend of mine, the full rules for this Lottery ... a $5 ticket gets you THREE sets of 7 numbers (chosen from 49 numbers).

    So the odds of winning for any TICKET become 3/85,900,584, or roughly 1 in 28 million.

    Needless to say, I don't play the game. But it's obvious, from the amount of money bet, that this game is way more popular than the old 7/47. I suspect it's because of all the $1 million prizes that are up for grabs, when the jackpot hits $50 million, and nobody wins.

  8. I have to agree with Anon 12:05am.

    I don't buy tickets all the time, not really all that often at all. However, if I were to win any substantial amount, I certainly wouldn't be thinking about not accepting it - if I want to blow some of my spending money on junk food or the movies, why not toss some of that into a lottery ticket? It's money I was going to waste anyway. And what iff I won? Would it have been a stupid investment then?

    Odds are long, but a little better with the 55 $1million prizes to go with it. So there can potentially be 56 winners - albeit one of them will be extremely rich!

  9. How many times can the newspapers repeat the same stories? Everytime a lottery gets really big they trot out the same 'financial planner' or accountant who tut-tuts everyone for spending their money on a ticket. Those who play know the odds. They know they are most likely wasting their $2 or $5 but that $2 or $5 is the price for them to day dream for a bit. Let them (and me) have their harmless fun. It are those who fork over $50 or $100 a week trying to win that might be in trouble.