Monday, 21 April 2008

How to make thirty million dollars overnight

Step 1. Buy and entry in this week's Tuesday night OzLotto draw (jackpot first prize $30 million)
Step 2. Have the seven winning numbers (odds are 45,379,620:1 against!)
Step 3. Hope no other entries have the same winning numbers ;)

This week I decided to "invest" $2.20 on buying two games in this week's lottery draw. I normally don't bother wasting my money on gambling, but since the prize hasn't been won for the past nine weeks the potential payout is higher than normal (although the odds of winning are still just a incredibly remote). Even though more people buy entries to the lottery when the prize has jack-potted, the odds are so long that there is usually only one winner of the major prize, so it's better "value" to buy an entry this week compared to most weeks. For example, the last "jackpot" prize of $6m only had one winning entry.

With two entries I have a whopping one chance in 22,689,810 of winning the first division prize. My statistics are a bit rusty, but I think that means that I'd have a 50:50 chance of winning if I made this sort of bet every week for 200,000 years or so! Anyhow, it's a bit of inexpensive fun as a once off event (for the next 24 hours I can "plan" on how to spend the thirty million), but I wouldn't want to do this every week. Some of my co-workers are in a syndicate that pools all their $5 contributions to buy one "system" entry each week. Although they don't seriously expect to win the jackpot, there is some wishful thinking that at least they may win a minor prize - perhaps $1,000 each. There is a social value to this sort of communal gambling, but I just can't get past the fact that just spending $5 each week would end up costing around $10,000 over your working years, for no tangible benefit.

Copyright Enough Wealth 2007

3 comments:

Rachel @ Master Your Card said...

I used to belong to a syndicate and found it a bit of fun and woudl probably do it again if I had the opportunity. However, I do consider gambling to be a complete waste of time and money and woudl much rather put my money in UK Premium Bonds where they have monethly drawings for prizes but you can get your stake back whenever you wish. It is stil not as good as a well paying investment but a good compromise for my lottery addicted husband!

Anonymous said...

Lottery is a tax on people bad at maths!!!!

Michael Ting said...

I believe your odds don't increase at all if you play every week in this fashion - even for 200,000 years. As each event (the draw) is independent and in all likelihood, a similar amount of people will be putting their entries in every week. But my probability is a little rusty as well.