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buying a lot of lottery tickets

How to Buy a Lottery Ticket

Last Updated: March 22, 2020 References

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Lottery tickets are an easy, accessible way for expert gamblers and novices alike to compete for a massive prize. For first-timers, the prospect of buying a lottery ticket and making a bet can be the source of jitters, but with a good understanding of lottery rules and realistic expectations, lottery tickets can be stress-free sources of fun. Note, however, that, like all forms of gambling, when you bet on a lottery ticket, you stand to lose your money, so don’t bet anything you can’t part with! See Step 1 below to begin.

Lottery tickets are an easy, accessible way for expert gamblers and novices alike to compete for a massive prize. For first-timers, the prospect of buying a lottery ticket and making a bet can be the source of jitters, but with a good…

As the Powerball jackpot tips over $600 million, let’s remember the time Fox News gave the worst lottery advice ever

The best piece of financial advice for playing the lottery is probably to not play the lottery, but in 2016, Fox News offered a very questionable suggestion for would-be gamblers.

Early that year, the Powerball lottery hit a jackpot of over a billion dollars for the first time. Amid the media mania surrounding the massive prize, liberal media-watchdog group Media Matters tweeted a screenshot from a “Fox and Friends” segment advising a simple strategy for maximizing your chances of winning the lottery: Buy as many tickets as you can afford.

This is technically true. Buying more lottery tickets does increase your chances of winning the lottery. In Powerball, there are 292,201,338 possible tickets. Buy one ticket, and you have a one in 292,201,338 chance of winning the jackpot. Buy two tickets, you have a two in 292,201,338 chance. And so on.

Even though buying more tickets technically increases your chances of winning, buying as many tickets as you can is probably a really bad idea.

The first problem is that your likelihood of winning is still incredibly low, even if you buy a bunch of tickets. Your odds of being struck by lightning in the next year are about 120 times higher than a two in 292,201,338 chance. Buying 10 tickets and giving yourself a 10 in 292,201,338 chance still leaves you about six times as likely to die in a plane crash as you are to win Powerball.

An even bigger problem is that this is a monumentally terrible idea from a financial perspective. Assuming you take the lump sum, which you likely should, and factoring in taxes, each one of those tickets has a negative expected value, meaning that each lottery ticket represents a likely loss of money. Buying more tickets, then, just increases the amount of money you’re likely to lose.

Buying a ton of lottery tickets, while making your chances of winning the jackpot marginally better, is a terrible “strategy.”

According to Media Matters, Fox News suggested that one should buy as many lottery tickets as one can afford. This is probably a bad idea. ]]>