Joined: Mar 22, 2010
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May 22nd, 2013 at 1:13:11 PM permalink
If there was a world-wide lottery, what would be the odds and payout expected or needed to 1) make players play and 2) not give away jackpots too easily?

In this theory I say its impossible- the numbers would be too astronomical, the chances against any one player winning would be too huge for them to want to play, and the jackpot would be enough to finance a small country. What I came out with, keeping all other things relatively constant was-

I used the current US population, current world population, current states that have lotto, and current powerball odds to come up with my World Lotto combination.

There is about 314 million people in the US, there is about 7 billion in the world. that comes up to about a 22x increase in 'eligible participants' - the current powerball odds are 1 in roughly 175,000,000. if I was to multiple this fairly evenly to the 22x increase in eligibility by population your looking at a 1 in 3.85 billion chance of winning.

shave off some here and there for the non-gambling states, ages, ect- and what I came up with to be a world-wide equivalent is: sticking to the powerball style of 5 balls and 1 powerball:

5 balls numbered 1-99
1 ball numbered 1-50

this gives roughly a 1 in 3.5 billion chance of winning - and everything else staying constant perhaps a starting jackpot of 800 million dollars. Then again youd need a little more time to get everything in order and may want to do a weekly drawing instead of a twice a week drawing, this would effectively nearly double the starting jackpot to about 1.5 billion dollars.

Weekly World-Wide Powerball payouts?

5 of 5 + PB = $1.5 billion starting (1 in 3.5 billion)
5 of 5 = $14 million (1 in 71.9 million)
4 of 5 + PB = $600,000 (1 in 37.7 million)
4 of 5 = $6,000 (1 in 755,000)
3 of 5 + PB = $6,000 (1 in 785,000)
3 of 5 = $300 (1 in 15,706)
2 of 5 + PB = $300 (1 in 24,267)
1 of 5 + PB = $35 (1 in 990)
PB alone = $35 (1 in 50)

the last few numbers are done to reflect current setup that the lower 6 combinations of winning numbers will pair up into equal payoffs. Making the tickets $1 a piece instead of current $2 and the relatively good payout on the PB alone is the ONLY thing that could even start to make this look fathomable.

I don't claim any of this to be accurate, and it sure as hell is not feasible or reasonable, I just got board and started playing around with a what-if.
"Although men flatter themselves with their great actions, they are not so often the result of a great design as of chance." - Francois De La Rochefoucauld

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