Saturday, October 02, 2010

Lotteries: a tax on those with poor mathematical skills

A Lottery is a Taxation,
Upon all the Fools in Creation;
And Heav’n be praised,
It is easily raised,
Credulity’s always in Fashion:
For, Folly’s a Fund,
Will Never Lose Ground,
While Fools are so rife in the Nation.

- Henry Fielding, "The Lottery", 1731.

Here is an incredibly depressing lottery simulator for the popular US "Mega Millions" Lottery. You can pick your numbers and simulate playing twice a week for ten years. It would cost you $1040 to do this. I did it and managed to "win" back $77 of my investment.
H/T Milan.


Mike W said...

But for those who see life as fairly hopeless or miserable anyway, what does it matter if you lose a thousand dollars?
If you work in a crap job, for crap pay, with very little hope of escape, then the lottery glimmers.
It is better than joining the military at least.

Matthew Moffitt said...

But it would be way more than a thousand dollars. Having worked in a newsagency, lotteries always find a way to 'upsell' their product; especially in NSW.

Donna said...

I was SURE I was going to win. But alas, only $79. (Maybe I'll win in the next ten years).

byron smith said...

Lotteries: another statistic. (Highly credible source, I know...)