# Do you feel lucky today? (redux)

Mentor
Tonight's Powerball lottery jackpot is at least $1.9 x 109, a new record for the US. Today I bought my first lottery tickets since the$1.5B Mega Millions drawing a bit over four years ago. I'll almost certainly not win anything, but at least I'll have participated in a historic event. And if I do win the jackpot, I certainly won't be posting about it here.

Gold Member
I find the marketing and psychology aspects of this stuff fascinating. Everyone's excited because the "jackpot" is advertised as $1.9B. Awesome, you may have one chance to win ~$2B! But how much better would your life be if you "only" won $200M, or$20M? Why are people so much more excited to have 1 chance of winning $2B than 100 times more likely chance of winning$20M? Maybe because any analysis would indicate that you won't win anything significant in any case?

I have no doubt that the marketing people that advertise this know more about the US consumer than I do. I'm sure they are right to advertise the huge payout. But... it makes no sense to me.

mfb
Gold Member
BTW, as an aside. My lottery theory goes like this. It is clear that the odds are against me, so I won't buy lottery tickets. But, that guarantees that you can't win, and someone will win each time. So my plan is to buy 1 ticket someday, so my chance won't be zero. Maybe on a day I feel really lucky? Then I won't have exactly zero chance, just practically zero.

The problem is that if I buy it tomorrow and lose then I'm done. So I'm delaying the resolution because I don't want to be disappointed. The odds of being disappointed are much greater than the odds of winning and I've raise the disappointment level even higher with my "one and done" strategy. After all, I could apply exactly the same reasoning to argue I should buy a second one; which is a bit of a paradox. So, my resolution is to say I should buy one, exactly one, someday; but never today. But then if I don't ever buy it I can't ever win. As y'all can see I kind of stuck here.

PS: I think a good economist could figure out the cost people place on disappointment by analyzing lottery ticket sales vs. the potential payoff, since essentially everyone will be disappointed, and they know it (at least at some level).

mfb
Mentor
Argh! No Powerball numbers yet!

I tuned to my local TV station that carries the drawings, at the appointed time of 10:59 PM EST, and saw a woman standing next to the machines that spit out the numbered balls, explaining that the drawing had been delayed due to "security protocols."

A bit later, the Powerball home page showed (and still shows as of right now) the following:

Here’s why Powerball numbers weren’t drawn Monday night (The Hill)

My theory is that North Korea (or Iran, or Russia, or...) hacked the Powerball servers and stole the $1.9 billion. Hornbein Staff Emeritus BTW, as an aside. My lottery theory goes like this. It is clear that the odds are against me, so I won't buy lottery tickets. But, that guarantees that you can't win, and someone will win each time. So my plan is to buy 1 ticket someday, so my chance won't be zero. Maybe on a day I feel really lucky? Then I won't have exactly zero chance, just practically zero. The problem is that if I buy it tomorrow and lose then I'm done. So I'm delaying the resolution because I don't want to be disappointed. The lottery people must hate you. If you were talking about COVID they would be out to cancel your accounts and to label you as dangerous. Mentor Awesome, you may have one chance to win ~$2B!
Not even that. Something $1.3 billion lump sum before taxes, probably well below a billion afterwards. Advertising the 30-year-payout pre-tax sum is another PR strategy. But I agree with the general idea, 2000 chances to win$1 million would be more attractive to me. Not enough to play, but better than an obscure chance to win an absurd amount of money.

Gold Member
Frankly, it really seems to be a burden more than anything else. How do you manage an increase in your asset from what could be considered nothing to 1 B$overnight? I mean, I have no experience with such amounts. I can't go to my local bank and deposit a check. I have to buy stuff, like stocks, or buildings, or whatever; 1 B$ worth of it. Obviously, I need to find people to do it for me. It seems like a drag.

Just give me a few million any day, just enough to go by without thinking about how much it costs to do "normal" things. Something my local bank can manage without having a team dedicated to my account.

Mentor
How do you manage an increase in your asset from what could be considered nothing to 1 B$overnight? I agree, that's way too much. Even as an annuity,$1.9B / 30 = ~$63M per year is too much for me. I'd have to put serious effort into figuring out what to do with it. Set up a trust or charitable foundation? Who to donate to? Etc. I'd be happy with one of the$1M prizes for matching the five "ordinary" numbers without the Powerball number.

Anyway, it's moot now. Two of my picks matched one number apiece, no Powerball. No soup for me!

[added] Nobody else won the big prize, either. Tomorrow night's jackpot is now \$2.3B, the largest in world history.

Someone did win it, in Altadena, California. An earlier report that I saw was in error.

https://www.npr.org/2022/11/08/1135068822/powerball-jackpot-drawing-delayed

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mfb