Lottery math made easy

If I were a math teacher — a statistical impossibility, by the way — I would ask the class today:


“If a lottery game required you to pick all six numbers and the odds of winning are 1 in 9,366,819, how many $2 lottery tickets would you have to buy to make a profit if the jackpot was $2 million or more and the rules say if nobody gets all six numbers, the pool goes to ticketholders who picked four or five numbers?”

While they struggled with the answer, I would read more of the Boston Globe article that details why the lottery in that state is now limiting stores to selling no more than $5,000 worth of the lottery tickets in a single day.

And I’d silently pray that none of the kids asked me how I came up with the answer.

  • http://ofbuckleyandbeatles.wordpress.com/ Drae

    “And I’d silently pray that none of the kids asked me how I came up with the answer.”

    Was it google math?

  • matt

    I had read that story yesterday and was greatly comforted by the fact that the govt outlaws most forms of gambling so that they can keep us safe…except when they can get a cut…and even then they might not be legit either.

    I want my online poker back!

  • Jim Shapiro

    The lottery statistic that I like states that one’s chances of winning increases astronomically if he purchases one ticket as opposed to none, but in relatively minuscule measure for every subsequent ticket purchased.

  • Jim!!!

    Interesting story. Never bought one, never will.

  • Bob Collins

    I heard an interesting statistic the other day that you have a much better chance of being killed while buying a lottery ticket than winning the lottery.

    I don’t know if it’s true, but it’s a statistic so it doesn’t really matter.

  • Pete

    I’ve always said lotteries are a tax on people who are bad at math. This is a free give away to rich people.