Did something Dumb

jannieMarch 29, 2012

Yeah. I bought $5 worth of lottery tickets. Well the jackpot is half a bil. You may see my picture in the newspaper Sunday.

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graywings123

I don't think buying a lottery ticket is dumb. Buying more than one is wasteful, though. Wishing you luck!

    Bookmark   March 29, 2012 at 8:45PM
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colorcrazy

Good luck, Jannie! I'm rooting for you - you deserve to win.

    Bookmark   March 29, 2012 at 10:58PM
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sushipup1

Buying a lottery ticket is like buying a ticket to a movie. You get a couple of hours of fantasy and daydreaming for your money. It doesn't hurt, as long as you don't go to too many movies!

I prefer the Senior matinee, myself. ;-D

    Bookmark   March 29, 2012 at 11:33PM
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jannie

Well, the jackpot is now over $600 million. I consider that $5 as money spent on "entertainment". I'd spend $10 or more on a movie, or $5 on a trip to a fast-food restaurant and come away feeling good about myself. I floated on air as I walked honme from the store with my "winning" ticket in my pocket. I planned what I'd do with my winnings: Fix up my house,pay off all my debts (credit cards,car loan) , enlarge my garden, give some to my children, and a whole lot to charity.

    Bookmark   March 30, 2012 at 8:21AM
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jannie

Obviously I didn't win. But 2 Long Islanders each won second prizes of 4250,000 each.

    Bookmark   April 2, 2012 at 9:27AM
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barbcollins

The Maryland winner still has not come forward. I know I would be a nervous wreck. I was surprised to hear a lottery official interviewed today that said it only takes about 10 days to get the winnings. I would have thought it would be several weeks.

What I think is funny is the people who only play when the lotteries get big. Like you wouldn't be happy with a measly 20 million.

    Bookmark   April 2, 2012 at 8:33PM
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jannie

I'd be happy with a measly million. The new Mega jackpot is now $12 million. Even $1000 would be nice. It would make more sense to buy a one dollar ticket now.

    Bookmark   April 3, 2012 at 9:02AM
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graywings123

That's my point about buying only one ticket per drawing regardless of the payout amount. Buying more than one ticket for any lottery doesn't improve your position enough because the odds are so against you. If you are going to spend $5 on lottery tickets, spreading them over 5 separate drawings gives you better statistical odds of winning some amount of money.

And $600 million would make me no happier than $12 million would.

    Bookmark   April 3, 2012 at 10:05AM
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cas66ragtop

You have to play to win, right? Buying a ticket and dreaming about it doesn't make you dumb. I'm guilty of that too, and guess what, I didn't win either. Oh well, back to reality for me.

Now if you cleaned out your savings account to buy the tickets, and now you can't pay your bills and put food on the table - that's a different story!

    Bookmark   April 3, 2012 at 11:53AM
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feedingfrenzy

"If you are going to spend $5 on lottery tickets, spreading them over 5 separate drawings gives you better statistical odds of winning some amount of money."

Not true. You should buy tickets for the one lottery that gives you the best combination of more favorable odds and a gbigger payout. Even better would be not to play at all because the odds against you in all government lotteries are really bad -- much worse than you'd get at a casino. And the very best would be not to gamble at all.

    Bookmark   April 5, 2012 at 7:41PM
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jannie

Back in the 70's when New York started its Lotto sales, my parents bought a one dollar ticket and got 5 out of 6 matches. They won about $3000 which came in handy, as Dad was unemployed at the time. Also, my friend at the diner said her father won TWICE-not the first prize jackpot but other winners. First time, he won $9000 which his wife insisted he share with her. Second time he won he didn't telll anyone till long after, after he had spent the money. And he never revealed how much! So I don't think spending a $1 or $5 on a ticket is so awful.

    Bookmark   April 6, 2012 at 8:18AM
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graywings123

You should buy tickets for the one lottery that gives you the best combination of more favorable odds and a gbigger payout. Even better would be not to play at all because the odds against you in all government lotteries are really bad -- much worse than you'd get at a casino. And the very best would be not to gamble at all.

Your second and third points are true but irrelevant. And I could even debate the merits of those two arguments. You can win in a casino, but you can't win multi-millions of dollars with almost no effort in a casino. Lotteries are easier with bigger payouts. Not gambling at all assumes that you are doing something better with the money. If you are choosing between buying a rock of crack cocaine for the $5 or lottery tickets, then spending it on lottery tickets is an arguably better choice.

As for my theory of spreading the money around, any Powerball or MegaMillions lottery will give the average person more than enough money. So to me, the bigger payoff is irrelevant - $12 million is as good as $600 million.

As for more favorable odds, I should clarify that I meant that you should buy 5 tickets for the following drawings of the same type - the MegaMillions drawings are twice a week. With $5, you buy tickets for 5 drawings over 2.5 weeks. It increases your odds of winning because otherwise you have zero chance in the following four drawings.

    Bookmark   April 7, 2012 at 7:12PM
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feedingfrenzy

It's still the same odds graywings. If you buy five tickets instead of one for the same lottery, you increase your chances of winning by 500%. Buying one ticket in each of five lotteries instead of one ticket in one lottery also increase your chances of winning by 500%. The only reason to play five lotteries instead of one is that you have five lottery drawings to look forward to instead of one. And the comment about not gambling at all is mainly directed to people, and there are very many of them, who are gambling addicts. Just like an addiction to crack cocaine, an addiction to gambling can wreck a life , a marriage, a family.

    Bookmark   April 11, 2012 at 7:55PM
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feedingfrenzy

Jannie -- Buying an occasional lottery ticket is fine for a lot of people, but no one who's deeply in debt and struggling to get out of it should be buying lottery tickets period. Not only is it a waste of money, but it feeds into the illusion that such a person doesn't really need to learn financial discipline because . . . well, you just never know . . . . maybe we'll get lucky on the lottery and all our financial problems will magically go away, etc, etc.

Yeah, right.

    Bookmark   April 11, 2012 at 8:11PM
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graywings123

feedingfrenzy, it's irrelevant how much you increase your chances BY. What counts is what your chances ARE in any given lottery.

    Bookmark   April 11, 2012 at 10:01PM
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feedingfrenzy

If you spread out your five tickets over five lotteries, then your chance of winning any one of the five lotteries will be exactly one fifth of your chance of winning one lottery you've bought five tickets for. No matter how you do it, graywings, all tickets in one lottery or spreading them out over five lotteries, you odds of winning a prize remain identical. You DO NOT improve your odds by spreading the tickets around. If you insist on thinking you do, you're just kidding yourself. Kidding yourself is fine by me, but you shouldn't mislead others.

    Bookmark   April 27, 2012 at 1:46PM
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graywings123

Sorry feedingfrenzy, you still have it wrong, in my opinion. You haven't accounted for what the zero chance of winning the other four lotteries does to your probability theory. The miniscule improvement of putting all your eggs in one basket, from 1 in 176 million to 5 in 176 million cannot overcome the loss of opportunity to win the other four lotteries.

Possibly the easiest way to explain the concept in this context is this: zero chance of winning is not one less than one chance of winning. It is an empty event outside the probability sample space.

    Bookmark   April 27, 2012 at 10:59PM
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LuAnn_in_PA

IDK.. I think that the odds are still so stacked
against you that it really doesn't make much of a difference....

    Bookmark   April 28, 2012 at 2:34PM
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feedingfrenzy

Sigh. I'll try one final time, graywings. If you buy 1 ticket in each of 5 lotteries that have odds of 1 in 76 million of winning the prize, then your chances of winning are the same "miniscule" 5 in 176 million. Now, I will grant you that spreading your tickets around means you have a theoretical chance of winning more than one of the lotteries. Your chances of winning two of them would be one in 3,097,600,000,000,000, which is a little over 3 quadrillion. However, you would have the exact same one in 3 quadrillion chance of having two winning tickets if you bought all five tickets for the same lottery.

    Bookmark   May 7, 2012 at 1:48PM
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graywings123

Aha! I read your post last night and I'm coming around to understanding.

I'm still intrigued by how, if at all, the zero probability in the other four lotteries can be calculated into the probability equation. Your theory is that it has no effect because the increased chances in the first lottery completely offset the loss of opportunity. If so, all my theory is doing is extending the time when one hopes to win, but not the actual chance of winning.

    Bookmark   May 8, 2012 at 8:48AM
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joyfulguy

Lottery tickets = scrap paper.

Almost every time ... of whatever million.

The kind of odds ... that I'll pass up, thanks for the opportunity.

o j

    Bookmark   May 17, 2012 at 4:32PM
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terrene

I read a statistic that people living at the poverty level spend about 10% of their meager incomes on lottery tickets. So a person with a $10,000 annual income spends about $20/week or $1,000 on lottery tickets a year. That is ridiculous! I wouldn't spend $20 in a year.

They would be better off investing that $1000 in a dividend reinvesting account each year and not touching it for 20 years. Then, they have very good odds of accumulating some wealth.

    Bookmark   May 17, 2012 at 6:02PM
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sushipup1

Here's a recent story on lottery tickets and the poor.

Here is a link that might be useful: A tax?

    Bookmark   May 17, 2012 at 7:54PM
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jannie

I heard a mathematician/statistician explain there's a way not to increase your chances of winning but to ensure IFF (If and ONLY if) you are a winner, how to increase your prize- pick "unlucky" numbers. That is, pick unusual number other people don't play. Like 13 and numbers 32 and over. Reason- thirteen is unlucky to many people, and many people bet special dates like birthdays or anniversaries . The highest date is 31.

    Bookmark   May 18, 2012 at 8:24AM
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RooseveltL

I realize an older thread but lottery and religion are two very faith based gambles.

Many play/contribute religiously to their rituals weekly and have no pay/off or take away besides the dream or belief it will benefit them in time of need. The ratio/odds are so limited that it is sinful that state governments encourage the low odds gambling with EXTENSIVE advertising and commercials.

I remember the first Government rebate issued in the summer before 09/11/2001 - which was $300-600 to families and most of them spent the money on Powerball as the jackpot was at a record that summer.

    Bookmark   May 31, 2012 at 12:13PM
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littleprincess

"I remember the first Government rebate issued in the summer before 09/11/2001 - which was $300-600 to families and most of them spent the money on Powerball as the jackpot was at a record that summer. "

Most of them? Where do you get that? As I remember it quite a few of those rebates were donated after 9-11.

    Bookmark   May 31, 2012 at 3:40PM
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jannie

If I got a tax refund or rebate, I wouldn't use it to buy lottery tickets. I would use it to pay down debt or buy something to improve my home. Or I'd give it to my two deserving student daughters.

    Bookmark   June 4, 2012 at 9:03AM
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joyfulguy

I figure that to buy one ticket of 10 million aiming at a million dollar jackpot is wiser that buying one ticket of 100 million, aiming at a 10 million dollar jackpot, as one million would be of more value to me than each of the additional nine million, considering the hugely reduced possibility of being the winner.

As a financial consultant, I recommend that one not buy the first ticket: bad investment.

Only justifiable if the entertainment value is considerable/acceptable ... and some have compared it to other entertainment, or eating out, experiences.

Dropping a dollar (or five) down a rathole would have, apart from a much reduced entertainment value, about the same end result.

ole joyful

    Bookmark   June 7, 2012 at 1:48PM
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RooseveltL

"Most of them? Where do you get that? As I remember it quite a few of those rebates were donated after 9-11."

My statement indicates a government rebate was distributed before September 2001. That was the first of many MEGA BIG jackpots and critics of the rebate indicated the families who could benefit from the money turned around and used it for PowerBall tickets.
This is prior to Sept 2001 and the only conversation was the economy, a missing intern in Washington DC and big lottery jackpot.

    Bookmark   June 12, 2012 at 2:22PM
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