slackyhacky
Joined: Jan 18, 2012
• Posts: 359
May 16th, 2014 at 4:07:32 PM permalink
Question

Assuming powerball winning odds are 1 in 175 mil and the cost of a ticket is 2\$

And assume mega millions odds to win are 1 in 275 mil and a ticket is 1\$

You better buy would be to buy 2 mega million tickets correct?

(Comparing the two - I know neither is a good buy)

Is it as simple as saying your odds to winning are 2/275 mil vs 1/175 mil?
Mission146
Joined: May 15, 2012
• Posts: 15308
May 16th, 2014 at 6:06:06 PM permalink
No, the two games may have different Expected Returns based on the lower prizes. There are websites that reflect the specific Odds of each individual prize for each game, so calculating the EV and deciding the better of the two is a simple matter.
https://wizardofvegas.com/forum/off-topic/gripes/11182-pet-peeves/120/#post815219
slackyhacky
Joined: Jan 18, 2012
• Posts: 359
May 23rd, 2014 at 4:59:34 PM permalink
Quote: Mission146

No, the two games may have different Expected Returns based on the lower prizes. There are websites that reflect the specific Odds of each individual prize for each game, so calculating the EV and deciding the better of the two is a simple matter.

Thanks.

What if you were ignoring all the other prizes and win possibilities and just looking at the jackpot.

Is buying 2 mega million tickets a better idea than buying one power ball ticket. Let's assume the jackpot for both is equal.
Mission146
Joined: May 15, 2012
• Posts: 15308
May 23rd, 2014 at 5:17:38 PM permalink
Quote: slackyhacky

Thanks.

What if you were ignoring all the other prizes and win possibilities and just looking at the jackpot.

Is buying 2 mega million tickets a better idea than buying one power ball ticket. Let's assume the jackpot for both is equal.

The probability of losing with your one Powerball ticket would be:

174999999/175000000 = 0.99999999428

The probability of losing on both Mega Millions tickets is effectively the same as losing two consecutive (but separate) drawings since we are only considering the Jackpot, so:

274999998/275000000 = 0.99999999272

Therefore, the probability of you winning the Jackpot is slightly better with two Mega Millions tickets, therefore (not looking at the EV of other results) your EV would be better with two Mega Millions tickets, considering only the Jackpot.
https://wizardofvegas.com/forum/off-topic/gripes/11182-pet-peeves/120/#post815219
AxiomOfChoice
Joined: Sep 12, 2012
• Posts: 5761
May 23rd, 2014 at 5:30:24 PM permalink
Quote: Mission146

The probability of losing with your one Powerball ticket would be:

174999999/175000000 = 0.99999999428

So, you're saying there's a chance...
FleaStiff
Joined: Oct 19, 2009
• Posts: 14484
May 23rd, 2014 at 6:02:05 PM permalink

Winners are included if they get free tickets or five dollars or ten dollars or other insubstantial amounts that usually just go right back into buying more tickets anyway.

If you drive seven miles to buy a lottery ticket you stand a better chance of being killed than you do if you buy a lottery ticket.
AxiomOfChoice
Joined: Sep 12, 2012
• Posts: 5761
May 23rd, 2014 at 6:06:29 PM permalink
Quote: FleaStiff

My problem with lottery advertising is not the fact that the money is pre-tax, nor that there is a possibility of sharing the jackpot. It's that they advertise the total amount if you accept the money over several years, which is a flat-out lie -- it is far less than the actual value of the jackpot. The lump-sum amount is the fair value. If these things were run by anyone other than the government, I have no doubt that they would be forced to advertise the real value instead of this inflated 20-year BS number.
onenickelmiracle
Joined: Jan 26, 2012
• Posts: 8277
May 23rd, 2014 at 6:57:34 PM permalink
The Ohio Lottery recently had a promotion to buy 2 Megamillions tickets and get 1 free if after 730 the day of the drawing when the jackpot was under 100 million. It was tempting, but I knew it would still be stupid to play under those circumstances. It's never worth it with any circumstances either.
I am a robot.
slackyhacky
Joined: Jan 18, 2012