Quote:FleaStiffIn today's world of spray and pray you might be right but usually no one will ever out run the bullet so its better to run towards the person with the weapon. Takes courage of course. Too many people run away and find that after a step and a half they get plugged.

Sorry Rambo, you didn't survive the scenario, but it was a valiant and short lived effort.

Quote:WizardI'm quite sure that when somebody buys a quick pick random numbers drawn by the game the moment a button is pressed determine the numbers on a ticket, much like a slot machine. It isn't like the winning numbers were next in the RNG queue. If that were the case, the system would be extremely vulnerable to fraud.

It really comes down to how the software/firmware for the machine is written. If it runs randomize(); before every set of picks number, then it depends on the timing, as the software RNG is reseeded with system clock. If it just uses random(), then the seed doesn't change and the numbers are indeed next in the queue (though they aren't winning numbers yet), as the entire infinite sequence of random numbers is predetermined on machine boot.

Since no one knows the winning numbers in advance, where's the potential for fraud? It's not a slot machine, it just picks numbers where you could write in any you like yourself. There's no reason to equip the machine with a true RNG chip (as required for e.g. classified data encryption) and not even a reason for the coder to care either way.

Quote:P90Since no one knows the winning numbers in advance, where's the potential for fraud?

Good points. You got me there.

Quote:P90It really comes down to how the software/firmware for the machine is written. If it runs randomize(); before every set of picks number, then it depends on the timing, as the software RNG is reseeded with system clock. If it just uses random(), then the seed doesn't change and the numbers are indeed next in the queue (though they aren't winning numbers yet), as the entire infinite sequence of random numbers is predetermined on machine boot.

Since no one knows the winning numbers in advance, where's the potential for fraud? It's not a slot machine, it just picks numbers where you could write in any you like yourself. There's no reason to equip the machine with a true RNG chip (as required for e.g. classified data encryption) and not even a reason for the coder to care either way.

That's an RNG implementation detail, very different from the idea of drawing truly predetermined sets of numbers from a pool of such sets of numbers. I can't speak to the firmware inside the pick-six lottery kiosks (though I bet you could ask GTECH or Scientific Games) -- but virtually all casino gaming machines constantly cycle the RNG so it doesn't matter when or how often it's seeded. The timing of each play is sufficient entropy to destroy predictability even if you know the seed and the exact algorithm. If the lottery kiosks operate the same way, quick picks are just as unpredictable.

Quote:WizardThe question may come up if the winner owes anything to the person who let her cut in line. I say not a dime. However, with $371 million she won, maybe a new car would be a nice gesture, but she may as well thank everybody else who had any impact on her day before she bought the ticket.

The woman who let the winner cut in line had a daughter. I think funding a college education for the daughter, specifically focused on math, odds, probability, and the way RNGs work, would be a nice gesture.

Then there was a quick exchange with Al about how the numbers are drawn. Al seems to think that every outlet in the country is tied into one central computer and that Quick Picks numbers may be predestined and in order, but the queue is everybody in the whole country buying tickets. However, I wouldn't necessarily trust Al's understanding to be entirely correct. I still would bet that each machine that vends tickets draws random numbers in the same way a slot machine does, constantly, and it is the moment the button is pressed that determines the numbers.

Quote:WizardQuote:AcesAndEightsMy understanding is that if you choose the "annuity" option, you receive the full value of the jackpot, minus applicable taxes, over a period of time. It is when you choose the cash option that you sacrifice some of the "face value" of the jackpot amount.

Granted if you choose the annuity, you will lose some real value to inflation and missed investment earnings, but that is a more complicated calculation than just chopping off 50%.

It seems like when you say "and another 50% to the annuity" you are actually talking about taking the cash option, instead of the annuity.

Unless I'm totally confused, which is completely possible.

Yes, I meant that 50% is loss because it is paid out as an annuity. You can either accept the time value of money loss, or the lump sum offer which is about 50% of the total annuity payments, before tax. So, that 50% loss is suffered either way. I've never heard of a big winner accepting the annuity, so the lump sum hit is quite obvious.

Really, you estimate the loss due to the time-value of money at 50%? I find that hard to believe. I would appreciate some more detailed calculations here, or an explanation of your assumptions. I can't seem to find any details about the "default" annuity setup for Powerball or MegaMillions (i.e. total number of years, etc.). This is a friendly request and of course subject to your own personal time limitations.

Yes, I am trying to justify purchasing the odd lottery ticket when the jackpots get huge :). Your pioneering work in the area of estimating total number of winners (and hence expected value taking into account jackpot splits) is already deterring me. But I think you're being overly critical of the lottery here, specifically in regards to real-value of money received if you choose the annuity option.

Quote:WizardThey discussed this on the Today show today. The main question was the proper etiquette of paying the woman who let the winner cut in line. Their etiquette expert said that the winner is not obligated at all.

Then there was a quick exchange with Al about how the numbers are drawn. Al seems to think that every outlet in the country is tied into one central computer and that Quick Picks numbers may be predestined and in order, but the queue is everybody in the whole country buying tickets. However, I wouldn't necessarily trust Al's understanding to be entirely correct. I still would bet that each machine that vends tickets draws random numbers in the same way a slot machine does, constantly, and it is the moment the button is pressed that determines the numbers.

Al is wrong as per the Missouri Lottery's FAQ: http://www.molottery.com/learnaboutus/FAQs.shtm

Quote:Missouri Lottery FAQIf I buy a Quick Pick ticket, can anyone else buy those numbers using Quick Pick?

Yes. Quick Pick tickets are generated randomly by the terminal at the retailer, and there is no central computer that is controlling ticket generation. The chances of buying a Draw Game ticket with the same numbers as someone else are the same as the chances of winning the jackpot.

I would also assume the RNG continuously cycles. Although I haven't read anything saying that it does so.