Dangers of the lottery pool

Of the many mysteries in the world, few are more mysterious than why co-workers “pool” their money to buy a $1 lottery ticket. Nothing good can happen, especially if you win.

In Elizabeth, New Jersey this week, it took a jury to sort out who owns the $38.5 million jackpot. They determined that Americo Lopes cheated the people who sent him off to the convenience store out of the jackpot, after he’d claimed the ticket that won wasn’t the one he bought on their behalf.

The jury didn’t buy it.

“They robbed me,” Lopes said in Portuguese.

Under the pool arrangement, each man put in $2 for a total of 12 sets of numbers. On the day Lopes says he won the jackpot, the winning number was one of 12 sets purchased.

Was it worth it?

According to Durango Bill’s Applied Mathematics website, the odds of hitting a jackpot are 1 in 175,711,536. Under the pool arrangement, it was 12 in 175,711.536.