Author Topic: Do You Buy Lottery Tickets  (Read 21824 times)

enpower

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Do You Buy Lottery Tickets
« on: February 08, 2015, 03:34:30 PM »
I've got the sudden urge to buy one!

I know the odds are terrible. I worked it out actually. Odds are 1 in 38 million to win to big jackpot. I've read articles that say the odds are so large, human brains can't process the odds and buy tickets anyway.

I've only ever bought one ticket in my life on my 18th birthday and thinking for some reason of buying another today. I just can't get the thought out of my head.

I know it isn't a good idea to gamble your savings away but I just can't help dreaming about it.


Dimitri

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Re: Do You Buy Lottery Tickets
« Reply #1 on: February 08, 2015, 03:44:50 PM »
Got a hunch?  Bet a bunch.

A man's gotta make at least one bet a day, else he could be walking around lucky and never know it.
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Janie

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Re: Do You Buy Lottery Tickets
« Reply #2 on: February 08, 2015, 03:47:05 PM »
no

Ricky

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Re: Do You Buy Lottery Tickets
« Reply #3 on: February 08, 2015, 03:47:14 PM »
Nope. Never even had the desire. The odds aren't really unfathomable, just look at it as "it's not possible, period".

Isn't this a silly question to ask in one of the most sensible corners of the Internet?

Kris

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Re: Do You Buy Lottery Tickets
« Reply #4 on: February 08, 2015, 03:50:01 PM »
No.  Bleah. 

However, my husband does.  So I guess I'm kinda covered either way? 
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mama

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Re: Do You Buy Lottery Tickets
« Reply #5 on: February 08, 2015, 03:50:26 PM »
I buy a $1 lottery ticket maybe 2x a year.  For obvious reasons (like the odds of winning), I can't picture spending serious dough on lottery tickets, but I find $1 for 36 hours of daydreaming about what I'd do if I had oodles of money to be a fair deal.

frugaldrummer

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Re: Do You Buy Lottery Tickets
« Reply #6 on: February 08, 2015, 04:01:42 PM »
I had a mathematically wise boyfriend once who said "The difference in possibility of winning between NOT buying a ticket and buying a ticket is infinite.  The difference between buying one ticket and buying two is miniscule."

So I buy ONE ticket once in a blue moon.  (Bear in mind, though, that I have NO ADDICTIVE TENDENCIES - if you do, you should stay far far away from gambling).

I reason that the price of one ticket is worth the entertainment value of imagining what I might do with the money if I win.  And there has been a surprising benefit.  The mental exercise of deciding where I would spend the money has clarified my goals.I find that I focus on security (paying off my and family members' home loans, providing a steady income for certain friends and family members who have challenges) and charity (would love to do something for foster kids who age out of the system and for ex-addicts trying to re-integrate into society) and travel. VERY LITTLE of my daydreaming has anything to do with more stuff or a bigger home or a fancier car.

This helps me see that, for me, paying off my home mortgage and building up my retirement income for safety are high value.  Cheap travel in retirement ranks high (maybe even renting out my house for a year and living in another country).  Helping certain friends and family to understand their finances and set goals is key.  And I would definitely like to do some volunteering when retired. 

And guess what?  NONE of those things are  dependent on me winning the lottery!  I can achieve all those goals just by achieving FIRE and using the tools I already possess to help others.

Worth $2 once in a while to help me re-clarify those goals.

clarkfan1979

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Re: Do You Buy Lottery Tickets
« Reply #7 on: February 08, 2015, 04:16:15 PM »
People overestimate the likelihood of really rare events like the lottery. It is a part of prospect theory developed by Daniel Kahneman. I honesty would never play the powerball because I would not like the consequence of winning. The main reason for me not playing is because it would cause problems in my family if I did win. I believe with 100% certainty that I would no longer speak with some of my family if I won the lottery. At some point someone would feel like they didn't get what they deserved and would never speak with me again. Very sad, but very true. The curse of the lottery is very real. It's not really a curse, it's just that people only think of the positive outcomes from winning. They ignore the negative outcomes.


gimp

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Re: Do You Buy Lottery Tickets
« Reply #8 on: February 08, 2015, 04:42:47 PM »
No.

Workinghard

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Re: Do You Buy Lottery Tickets
« Reply #9 on: February 08, 2015, 04:50:38 PM »
No.  Bleah. 

However, my husband does.  So I guess I'm kinda covered either way?

Ditto with me and my husband! He uses his personal spending money.

lise

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Re: Do You Buy Lottery Tickets
« Reply #10 on: February 08, 2015, 05:02:16 PM »
I had a mathematically wise boyfriend once who said "The difference in possibility of winning between NOT buying a ticket and buying a ticket is infinite.  The difference between buying one ticket and buying two is miniscule."

So I buy ONE ticket once in a blue moon.  (Bear in mind, though, that I have NO ADDICTIVE TENDENCIES - if you do, you should stay far far away from gambling).

I reason that the price of one ticket is worth the entertainment value of imagining what I might do with the money if I win.  And there has been a surprising benefit.  The mental exercise of deciding where I would spend the money has clarified my goals.I find that I focus on security (paying off my and family members' home loans, providing a steady income for certain friends and family members who have challenges) and charity (would love to do something for foster kids who age out of the system and for ex-addicts trying to re-integrate into society) and travel. VERY LITTLE of my daydreaming has anything to do with more stuff or a bigger home or a fancier car.

This helps me see that, for me, paying off my home mortgage and building up my retirement income for safety are high value.  Cheap travel in retirement ranks high (maybe even renting out my house for a year and living in another country).  Helping certain friends and family to understand their finances and set goals is key.  And I would definitely like to do some volunteering when retired. 

And guess what?  NONE of those things are  dependent on me winning the lottery!  I can achieve all those goals just by achieving FIRE and using the tools I already possess to help others.

Worth $2 once in a while to help me re-clarify those goals.

Nicely put.  I too participate maybe 2 times a year when I happened to be a store that sells tickets and I get the urge.  When the jackpot is really big and friends want to pool in I'll participate with a $1 or $2 - that's probably 3 times a year.   I won $50,000 a while back.  Put most of it towards my mortgage, took my parents and siblings out for a nice dinner (they're frugalish too - they're happy with the dinner out since we are obsessed about different cuisines/eating).  Took my boyfriend to a NBA game with seats close up (not court side but 20 rows back and got on stub hub so paid under face value).  We normally go once a year but sit far away from the action.   So I treated myself to experiences rather than things.

Davids

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Re: Do You Buy Lottery Tickets
« Reply #11 on: February 08, 2015, 05:08:45 PM »
Only when it is a huge jackpot like the current powerball jackpot is. I only buy 1 ticket. I figure the thought of daydreaming what i would do if i won is worth the $2.

johnny847

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Re: Do You Buy Lottery Tickets
« Reply #12 on: February 08, 2015, 05:12:49 PM »
I have. I won $25 from a $1 ticket once. But I know it wasn't a rationally sound decision to buy one.

Raste

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Re: Do You Buy Lottery Tickets
« Reply #13 on: February 08, 2015, 06:04:30 PM »
I'll buy 1 or 2 per year on a big jackpot with some pocket change I've got around the house. My GF and I buy some $1 scratch off tickets for Christmas and New Year party favors during family dinners. $5 for each occassion and it's a relatively cheap way to get a cheap thrill. It is also an inexpensive way to divert conversations from utter disasters thus reducing my blood pressure at an already stressful time.

Zikoris

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Re: Do You Buy Lottery Tickets
« Reply #14 on: February 08, 2015, 06:37:37 PM »
Oh hell no.

Here's how I look at it. $2 = 1 little useless piece of paper, or $2 = 1 delicious ice cold drink. I'll take the one that actually gets me something I enjoy.

I like the idea of being rich of course, which is why I save and invest most of my income. I certainly don't need to buy a lottery ticket to envision a future of not needing to work - I have a plan for that already.
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Capsu78

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Re: Do You Buy Lottery Tickets
« Reply #15 on: February 08, 2015, 06:56:10 PM »
Yes, when things get big, only to enjoy coming up with a plan for if we did hit it big.  I have one too- not tell anyone beyond my family after signing NDA's, darkening my house and renting in a local gated community, waiting until the last moment for my working trust to declare the winnings. To pick a charity to goose and share the Karma with and set up something multigenerational that gives opportunity, but not wealth to future generations of our heirs.

Still have a better chance of being mauled by both a polar and a grizzly bear on the same day but entertainingly affordable.


Capsu78

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Re: Do You Buy Lottery Tickets
« Reply #16 on: February 08, 2015, 07:42:34 PM »
Yes, when things get big, only to enjoy coming up with a plan for if we did hit it big.  I have one too- not tell anyone beyond my family after signing NDA's, darkening my house and renting in a local gated community, waiting until the last moment for my working trust to declare the winnings. To pick a charity to goose and share the Karma with and set up something multigenerational that gives opportunity, but not wealth to future generations of our heirs.

Still have a better chance of being mauled by both a polar and a grizzly bear on the same day but entertainingly affordable.

I thought lotteries typically publish the names of winners. I am not an expert on the lottery though. Maybe that's optional.

Different states have different disclosure protocals, but the optimal marketing event they have is somebody photogenically "normal" by lotto ticket buying standards coming forward to say "my life will be different" than someone who strategically places themselves behind a Trust like myself who might just blurt out "Lottery Tickets are a tax on the stupid people" in front of the cameras. 

Celda

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Re: Do You Buy Lottery Tickets
« Reply #17 on: February 08, 2015, 07:46:28 PM »
Only when the odds are in your favour, which happens rarely.

E.g. my lottery has a 1 in 14 million chance for the jackpot, with a $2 ticket, meaning that the jackpot merely has to be above $28 million for it to be a good deal.

This happens very rarely though, for the obvious reason that the lotto would not make money if that happened all the time.
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marty998

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Re: Do You Buy Lottery Tickets
« Reply #18 on: February 08, 2015, 08:00:12 PM »
I buy the occasional ticket.

Odds may be small but someone actually does win it every week.

You've just gotta not truly believe it will be you or not get addicted to thinking that it will happen.

YoungInvestor

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Re: Do You Buy Lottery Tickets
« Reply #19 on: February 08, 2015, 08:17:24 PM »
I'll get one if I'm out to lunch with colleagues and one of them buys one, but otherwise, I never do.

2-5$ for half a week of wondering what you'd do with X$ isn't too bad of a deal, I reckon.

DK

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Re: Do You Buy Lottery Tickets
« Reply #20 on: February 08, 2015, 08:22:12 PM »
take part in the lotto pool at work for the big jackpots. otherwise stay far far away from lottery tickets.

johnintaiwan

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Re: Do You Buy Lottery Tickets
« Reply #21 on: February 08, 2015, 08:25:09 PM »
I think of it as entertainment, not gambling. I think buying a lotto ticket once in a while is a completely legitimate form of entertainment.

I don't buy tickets myself, but Chinese New Year is coming and so are the red envelopes. Many people use that money to but lotto tickets here. I know my wife will buy a lot and have hours of fun scratching and redeeming them.

MarciaB

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Re: Do You Buy Lottery Tickets
« Reply #22 on: February 08, 2015, 08:27:35 PM »
I buy a $1 lottery ticket maybe 2x a year.  For obvious reasons (like the odds of winning), I can't picture spending serious dough on lottery tickets, but I find $1 for 36 hours of daydreaming about what I'd do if I had oodles of money to be a fair deal.

I do the very same thing for the same reason. I enjoy the time spent daydreaming about the big win. I like talking to friends about what I might do with the money, what they would do if they won. We scheme on which charities could really use a big hit of funding.

Which is all to say, there's a lot of fun to be had for the $1 or $2 you spend on the ticket. But the caveat here is doing this once a year or so, and considering it an entertainment expense.

So - the OP? S/he should just go ahead and buy that one (ONE) ticket and get good mileage out the entertainment of it. Then get back to real life and make some actual dreams come true.
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couponvan

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Re: Do You Buy Lottery Tickets
« Reply #23 on: February 08, 2015, 09:22:50 PM »
We buy 1.  Someone gave me a $1,000 scratcher for my bday - I thought it was a joke/gag, as I'd never done a scratcher before.  It's purely entertainment value, although we do have friends that won big, so "someone" has to win. :-)
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greaper007

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Re: Do You Buy Lottery Tickets
« Reply #24 on: February 08, 2015, 10:44:50 PM »
Anytime I get the urge to gamble I take the money and either buy crack cocaine or heroin.   It seems like a more reasonable way to throw away money.

kander

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Re: Do You Buy Lottery Tickets
« Reply #25 on: February 09, 2015, 12:48:47 AM »
I get one Advent Calender scratcher each year in December. It's like a calender with chocolat, but instead of chocolat you can win 50.000 ;) But never bought one myself.
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JLee

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Re: Do You Buy Lottery Tickets
« Reply #26 on: February 09, 2015, 07:51:51 AM »
I joined a pool on a message forum once and have bought a few tickets during my lifetime, generally when the jackpot is $400mil+. Maybe ~$25 over the last 10+ years.

caliq

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Re: Do You Buy Lottery Tickets
« Reply #27 on: February 09, 2015, 07:58:44 AM »
I get lottery tickets as stocking stuffers sometimes on Christmas, but only like 5 $1 tickets.  I think one of them was a $2 winner once but I forgot about it and never cashed it in...found it years later and threw it out. 

I bought my first and only lottery tickets ($5 worth? maybe?) two years ago (at age 21ish) when the jackpot was like 500 million dollars or something like that.  It was a fun dreaming exercise and like others have said, made me realize some of my priorities for my money. 

I wouldn't say I "buy lottery tickets" though. 

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Re: Do You Buy Lottery Tickets
« Reply #28 on: February 09, 2015, 07:59:09 AM »
A couple times per year if the jackpot is crazy high. I was actually thinking about getting one today because the jackpot is something like $380 million dollars. A couple bucks for a few days of daydreaming about what I'd do (who would I tell? Who would I call first - likely my lawyers... Where would I travel to? Would I move or not? or remodel? etc.)

LadyDriver

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Re: Do You Buy Lottery Tickets
« Reply #29 on: February 09, 2015, 08:00:12 AM »
I have money budgeted for this kind of stuff, although most goes to lotteries that have some kind of charitable purpose. It is the same is any other consumable luxury in my mind.

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Re: Do You Buy Lottery Tickets
« Reply #30 on: February 09, 2015, 08:52:14 AM »
I've never bought a ticket where you had to buy numbers- but a few times in high school I bought scratch offs.

A friend and I once spent $10 on scratch-offs, took the $2 we won, drove to another gas station bought $2, won $5, etc, and kept this up for about 5 hours until finally we didn't win enough to buy something else.

That was LOADS of entertainment for quite cheap.

Of course, gas was 75 cents a gallon.  No way would I joy ride for fun now.

Dibbels81

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Re: Do You Buy Lottery Tickets
« Reply #31 on: February 09, 2015, 09:02:15 AM »
I approach it like I would approach the pot in a game of poker.  The odds of winning the lottery are 175 million to 1.  However, the current Powerball jackpot is 450 million.  That's over a 2-1 return on risk.  I'd say that's worth a couple bucks.

Louisville

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Re: Do You Buy Lottery Tickets
« Reply #32 on: February 09, 2015, 09:58:51 AM »
I buy a $1 lottery ticket maybe 2x a year.  For obvious reasons (like the odds of winning), I can't picture spending serious dough on lottery tickets, but I find $1 for 36 hours of daydreaming about what I'd do if I had oodles of money to be a fair deal.
+1
Except it's $2 where I am. Fun to talk about what we'd do with $XXzillion.

jms493

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Re: Do You Buy Lottery Tickets
« Reply #33 on: February 09, 2015, 10:06:48 AM »
I used to when it there was a place in my building at work to buy them.

Now that I am on a budget and value my money much more than I used to I do not. 1:175M chance to win...nah.

I can't even win Playoff football box pools...I quit that as well.

gatorNic

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Re: Do You Buy Lottery Tickets
« Reply #34 on: February 09, 2015, 02:27:30 PM »
I do.  I just do the CA lottery not the megamillions or what not. Hey much better odds only 1 in 41,416,353!  Not that 1 in 258,890,850 megamillions crap!  haha!

But I keep it simple and do 1 line, same numbers always, multiple draws.  Its like $8 month.  I look at it as entertainment value. Some people go to the movies (way over $8 for two hours or enjoyment).  I find it just gives me a little enjoyment a month to imagine what I could do with it.  Don't think I am going to win, but 10 mins here and there daydreaming is a good thing.  To each his own.  Certainly not spending $50-$100 on scratchers as I see so many people do. 

GetItRight

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Re: Do You Buy Lottery Tickets
« Reply #35 on: February 09, 2015, 03:21:08 PM »
Absolutely not. The lottery is a tax on the poor to benefit the government. If you buy a ticket, evil wins.

Now I have occasionally bought 50/50 tickets,raffles, etc. occasionally from private organizations for causes or groups I support, but those are win/win situations. There's no way to lose in a privately run lottery/raffle/whatever so if you have the urge, gamble with a charity or club you support and enjoy.

Chiron

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Re: Do You Buy Lottery Tickets
« Reply #36 on: February 09, 2015, 04:35:50 PM »
I approach it like I would approach the pot in a game of poker.  The odds of winning the lottery are 175 million to 1.  However, the current Powerball jackpot is 450 million.  That's over a 2-1 return on risk.  I'd say that's worth a couple bucks.

A 2-1 return on risk is worth much more than a couple bucks investment.  If that were the real return there would be an industry set up solely to purchase lottery tickets.  But you're ignoring a couple things: 1) the "jackpot" is usually not the present cash value - it's the amount that would be paid to the winner over a long period, like 20-25 years (the cash value is usually roughly half that) and 2) the odds that someone else will also win (which are quite high when the jackpots get big and more tickets are sold) and you'll have to split the pot, though you don't get half your investment back.  So if Powerball is currently at $450MM, take half that (present cash value) and factor in the odds that you'll have to split it. You'll probably find it -ev.

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Re: Do You Buy Lottery Tickets
« Reply #37 on: February 09, 2015, 05:02:20 PM »
I buy them occasionally - if I am just giving a co-worker a birthday card and not a "real present", this is a fun enclosure.  I also buy them for myself when I feel the urge - maybe 2-3 times a year.  I don't see this as anything other than "play value", and throwing a couple of bucks away on scratch-and-win tickets is pretty benign IMO.

Gen Y Finance Journey

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Re: Do You Buy Lottery Tickets
« Reply #38 on: February 09, 2015, 05:14:42 PM »
I've never bought a ticket to the lottery proper, but I'll buy a scratcher every now and then for the entertainment value. My very first scratcher a few years back won me $50, and I'm still net positive from that. :)

irishbear99

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Re: Do You Buy Lottery Tickets
« Reply #39 on: February 09, 2015, 05:26:01 PM »
The hubby and I live in a state that doesn't allow the lottery. However, before we moved here, we probably spent about $5/year on lottery tickets when the jackpot got huge. We took it out of our entertainment budget and had fun playing the "what if" game.

I had a coworker once who derisively referred to it as "a tax on stupid people", which, sure, you can look at it that way. But there are so many things that could fit that category: soda, cable tv, oil changes at overpriced service stations...pick a topic.

JLee

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Re: Do You Buy Lottery Tickets
« Reply #40 on: February 09, 2015, 06:11:16 PM »
The hubby and I live in a state that doesn't allow the lottery. However, before we moved here, we probably spent about $5/year on lottery tickets when the jackpot got huge. We took it out of our entertainment budget and had fun playing the "what if" game.

I had a coworker once who derisively referred to it as "a tax on stupid people", which, sure, you can look at it that way. But there are so many things that could fit that category: soda, cable tv, oil changes at overpriced service stations...pick a topic.
Yup. The ones who play because they legitimately expect to win sometime, maybe..but the people who are like meh, it's 2 bucks to daydream, can't really fault someone for $2 entertainment.

Migs

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Re: Do You Buy Lottery Tickets
« Reply #41 on: February 09, 2015, 06:25:49 PM »
I play the lotto every once in a while when the jackpots get really high - just to throw my name in the hat. The only other times I play are usually when I get scratch-offs or lotto tickets as a stocking-stuffer during Christmas.

Timmmy

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Re: Do You Buy Lottery Tickets
« Reply #42 on: February 09, 2015, 06:40:17 PM »
The lottery is the poor mans retirement plan.  I'm not poor and I already have a retirement plan. 

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Re: Do You Buy Lottery Tickets
« Reply #43 on: February 09, 2015, 06:45:30 PM »
I approach it like I would approach the pot in a game of poker.  The odds of winning the lottery are 175 million to 1.  However, the current Powerball jackpot is 450 million.  That's over a 2-1 return on risk.  I'd say that's worth a couple bucks.

A 2-1 return on risk is worth much more than a couple bucks investment.  If that were the real return there would be an industry set up solely to purchase lottery tickets.  But you're ignoring a couple things: 1) the "jackpot" is usually not the present cash value - it's the amount that would be paid to the winner over a long period, like 20-25 years (the cash value is usually roughly half that) and 2) the odds that someone else will also win (which are quite high when the jackpots get big and more tickets are sold) and you'll have to split the pot, though you don't get half your investment back.  So if Powerball is currently at $450MM, take half that (present cash value) and factor in the odds that you'll have to split it. You'll probably find it -ev.

You absolutely just ruined the fun for me.  I'm still buying a ticket, though

SaintM

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Re: Do You Buy Lottery Tickets
« Reply #44 on: February 09, 2015, 07:21:51 PM »
I bought a scratch off ticket when I turned 18. That was all my state had at the time. I also played a nickel slot machine for about an hour. Never gambled or bought a lottery ticket since.

Argyle

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Re: Do You Buy Lottery Tickets
« Reply #45 on: February 09, 2015, 07:29:00 PM »
I have never bought one.  But I actually do know three people who won big.  One bought an island that kind of big.  The smallest win of the three was "only" $100,000.  It's more aggravating not winning when you know people who have won and they're not you.  So I keep that aggravation down by not buying a ticket in the first place.

Dimitri

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Re: Do You Buy Lottery Tickets
« Reply #46 on: February 09, 2015, 07:41:11 PM »
I approach it like I would approach the pot in a game of poker.  The odds of winning the lottery are 175 million to 1.  However, the current Powerball jackpot is 450 million.  That's over a 2-1 return on risk.  I'd say that's worth a couple bucks.

A 2-1 return on risk is worth much more than a couple bucks investment.  If that were the real return there would be an industry set up solely to purchase lottery tickets.  But you're ignoring a couple things: 1) the "jackpot" is usually not the present cash value - it's the amount that would be paid to the winner over a long period, like 20-25 years (the cash value is usually roughly half that) and 2) the odds that someone else will also win (which are quite high when the jackpots get big and more tickets are sold) and you'll have to split the pot, though you don't get half your investment back.  So if Powerball is currently at $450MM, take half that (present cash value) and factor in the odds that you'll have to split it. You'll probably find it -ev.

I'm aware of at least one syndicate that attempted to purchase every possible combination.  Mind you, this was a while ago and it wasn't Powerball - they were only trying to buy 7 million possible combinations at $1 apiece to win $27M paid out over 20 years.  But this group saw an opportunity and jumped in with fists full of money.

RICHMOND, Feb. 24 There is a dream common among regular lottery players: to wait until the jackpot reaches an astronomical sum and then to buy every possible number, guaranteeing a winner.

Sure, it would cost millions of dollars. But the payoff would be much richer.

In Virginia this month, one investment group came tantalizingly close to cornering the market on all possible combinations of six numbers from 1 to 44. State lottery officials say that the group bought tickets for 5 million of a possible 7 million combinations, at $1 each, in a lottery with a $27 million jackpot. Only a lack of time prevented the group from buying tickets for the remaining 2 million combinations.

Read more at http://www.nytimes.com/1992/02/25/us/group-invests-5-million-to-hedge-bets-in-lottery.html

And if you were curious - they did win.
Read more at http://articles.wdbj7.com/2012-03-30/virginia-lottery_31263333

purplish

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Re: Do You Buy Lottery Tickets
« Reply #47 on: February 09, 2015, 07:44:48 PM »
No, I could never get into the idea of betting/gambling.  It just seems like a waste of time and money... I'd rather just save the money and have it.  Then again I was raised with the idea "The lottery is just an extra tax for the poor".

JLee

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Re: Do You Buy Lottery Tickets
« Reply #48 on: February 09, 2015, 07:51:28 PM »
I approach it like I would approach the pot in a game of poker.  The odds of winning the lottery are 175 million to 1.  However, the current Powerball jackpot is 450 million.  That's over a 2-1 return on risk.  I'd say that's worth a couple bucks.

A 2-1 return on risk is worth much more than a couple bucks investment.  If that were the real return there would be an industry set up solely to purchase lottery tickets.  But you're ignoring a couple things: 1) the "jackpot" is usually not the present cash value - it's the amount that would be paid to the winner over a long period, like 20-25 years (the cash value is usually roughly half that) and 2) the odds that someone else will also win (which are quite high when the jackpots get big and more tickets are sold) and you'll have to split the pot, though you don't get half your investment back.  So if Powerball is currently at $450MM, take half that (present cash value) and factor in the odds that you'll have to split it. You'll probably find it -ev.

I'm aware of at least one syndicate that attempted to purchase every possible combination.  Mind you, this was a while ago and it wasn't Powerball - they were only trying to buy 7 million possible combinations at $1 apiece to win $27M paid out over 20 years.  But this group saw an opportunity and jumped in with fists full of money.

RICHMOND, Feb. 24 There is a dream common among regular lottery players: to wait until the jackpot reaches an astronomical sum and then to buy every possible number, guaranteeing a winner.

Sure, it would cost millions of dollars. But the payoff would be much richer.

In Virginia this month, one investment group came tantalizingly close to cornering the market on all possible combinations of six numbers from 1 to 44. State lottery officials say that the group bought tickets for 5 million of a possible 7 million combinations, at $1 each, in a lottery with a $27 million jackpot. Only a lack of time prevented the group from buying tickets for the remaining 2 million combinations.

Read more at http://www.nytimes.com/1992/02/25/us/group-invests-5-million-to-hedge-bets-in-lottery.html

And if you were curious - they did win.
Read more at http://articles.wdbj7.com/2012-03-30/virginia-lottery_31263333
Haha, that's awesome.

greaper007

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Re: Do You Buy Lottery Tickets
« Reply #49 on: February 09, 2015, 07:53:18 PM »
I think the quote is, "A tax on people that don't understand math."