A buddy from work and I have been debating an article we read the other day stating that it is a bad investment to play scratch lottery ticket games that have been on the market for an extended period of time (ex: hypothetical 2004 Christmas Game Scratcher). The article stated that this is due to the fact that the probability that the winning jackpot ticket has already been sold. My buddy concurs with this, but it doesn't sit well with me. I would argue that this is no worse of an investment (buying in the latter half) than if you had bought the very first ticket. Could someone please help?(adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle || []).push({});

We have made a few logical assumptions:

1. 95% of the tickets have already been sold

2. It is not known whether or not the winning jackpot ticket has already been sold

3. There is only one winning jackpot ticket

He states that since you are buying in the last 5% of tickets that you are making a poor investment. I counter that this could be said no matter what 5% you are in (even first 5% because the ticket is more likely to be sold in the latter 95% by that argument). I also understand that the odds of purchasing the winner are 1/n, where n represents the number of tickets created. However, I am not entirely positive (mathematically) why it would still be ok to buy in the latter 5%. Thanks in advance for any information!

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# Probability of winning a scratch lottery ticket given that 95% have been sold

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