Discover how Manfred Sternberg and Associates can help you through estate planning and commercial litigation. We serve businesses, corporate and partnership clients in Greater Houston and throughout Texas, including such communities as Bellaire, River Oaks, Galleria, Clear Lake, Galveston, Pearland, Katy, Sugar Land, Spring, Tomball, The Woodlands, Montgomery, Alvin, Conroe, Kingwood, Humble, Harris County, Fort Bend County, Montgomery County, Brazoria County and Galveston County.
One example of this was the Missouri Lottery's promotion in the daily Pick 3. Normally a player has a 1/1000 chance of winning a $600 prize, making a $1 ticket worth only $0.60. The promotion was to draw a second winning combination on one randomly selected day of the week. Originally, the drawing to determine whether the bonus would occur that day held six white balls and one orange, but on the last day of the week, all six white balls had been removed, leaving only the orange ball and ensuring a double drawing on the last day. [4] This doubled the value of tickets for that drawing and converted them from an expected 40 percent loss to a 20 percent gain. See table 1 below for how the expected value varied that week. 

Discover how Manfred Sternberg and Associates can help you through estate planning and commercial litigation. We serve businesses, corporate and partnership clients in Greater Houston and throughout Texas, including such communities as Bellaire, River Oaks, Galleria, Clear Lake, Galveston, Pearland, Katy, Sugar Land, Spring, Tomball, The Woodlands, Montgomery, Alvin, Conroe, Kingwood, Humble, Harris County, Fort Bend County, Montgomery County, Brazoria County and Galveston County.
Learning more about the odds of winning a big jackpot may not be enough to discourage you from buying daily or weekly lottery tickets. Perhaps talking about the true financial cost of those tickets will help dissuade you from buying tickets. Most people do not like wasting money, but many will spend a small fortune on lottery tickets in their lifetimes, which is unlikely to ever pay off.
In 2008, there were 1.03 deaths per 100 million vehicle miles traveled in the United States. Based on these odds, a lottery player living a single mile from a store selling lottery tickets is four times more likely to die in a car accident driving to the store than to win the Powerball jackpot. Winning doesn’t seem too likely now, does it? Keep those odds in mind the next time you drive to the store to buy lottery tickets!
Consider the tax implications. In the United States, gambling winnings are taxable, but gambling losses are only deductible to offset winnings. This legal asymmetry may affect the math. The double draw promotion that resulted in a 20 percent player advantage before tax considerations is only profitable after taxes, provided the player can purchase the hundreds of tickets required to cover a significant fraction of the 1000 outcomes.

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Also, never hand over a ticket to a clerk at a lottery location and ask if you've won. Use a computer terminal to determine if you're a winner, ask the clerk for the winning numbers and verify them yourself, or check online or in newspapers to find the winning numbers. It's easy for an unscrupulous clerk to pocket your ticket and tell you it was a loser.
To illustrate this point, let’s say an average lottery player spends $5 per week on Powerball tickets. That’s $20 each month or $240 spent on lottery tickets every year. This person buys lottery tickets every month of every year for 25 years, as my grandfather did throughout his adult life. The amount spent on lottery tickets over a lifetime is $6,000, which surely could have been put to better use. Instead, that $6,000 disappeared, and never won any jackpot big enough to cover the player’s expenses.
What are the odds of buying a jackpot-winning lottery ticket? Well, that’s where the math gets scary. The odds of someone choosing the winning combination of numbers are 1 in 195,249,054. Yes, you read that right – just 1 in almost 200 million. To put that in some numerical perspective, the United States currently has a population of 307 million people, so you’re theoretically competing against 2/3 of the entire U.S. population. Those are serious odds stacked against you every time you spend $1 for a lottery ticket!
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