Wednesday, January 04, 2012

Lottery Logic:

I strongly disapprove of any state-sponsored gambling. Not lotteries, not off-track betting, nothing. I won’t go into the many reasons here, but I want to note my fascination with the way state-sponsored gambling is advertized. The ads must draw in bettors without making claims that are too outrageous or false. A good example is New York’s focus on the value of winning. Could you win? Hey, you never know. (But if you had to, you could make a pretty good guess.)

The multistate Power Ball Lottery (of course I won’t give you a link) is doubling its ticket price, and they are plastering the air with ads that justify this move. They point out that there are lots of things right now whose price is going up, even as the value goes down. But not Power Ball! You pay twice as much for your ticket, but the minimum win doubles also, from twenty$ million$ to forty$$ million$$$.

Now just think of that: you pay twice as much, but you win twice as much; if you win, that is. The other 43,278,956 Power Ball players (my silly estimate) are paying twice as much for nothing.

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