In Search of a Fair Bet in the Lottery
Although state-operated lotto games have the worst average expected payoffs among common games of chance, because the jackpot can accumulate, the maximum expected payoff is potentially unlimited. It is possible, therefore, that lotto can exhibit a positive expected return. This paper examines 18,000 drawings in 34 American lotteries and finds approximately 1% of these drawings provided players with a fair bet. If it were possible for a bettor to purchase every possible combination, however, most lotteries commonly experience circumstances where such a purchase would provide a positive return with 11% of the drawings providing a fair bet to the player.
|Date of creation:||Jun 2004|
|Date of revision:|
|Publication status:||Published in Eastern Economic Journal, Vol. 32:4, Fall 2006, pp. 673-684.|
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- Victor Matheson, 2001. "When Are State Lotteries a Good Bet (Revisited)?," Eastern Economic Journal, Eastern Economic Association, vol. 27(1), pages 55-70, Winter.
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- Victor A. Matheson & Kent R. Grote, 2003. "Jacking Up the Jackpot: Are Lotto Consumers Fooled by Annuity Payments?," Public Finance Review, SAGE Publishing, vol. 31(5), pages 550-567, September.
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- Victor Matheson & Kent Grote, 2004. "Dueling Jackpots: Are Competing Lotto Games Complements or Substitutes?," Working Papers 0406, College of the Holy Cross, Department of Economics.
- Scott, Frank A, Jr & Gulley, O David, 1995. "Testing for Efficiency in Lotto Markets," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 33(2), pages 175-88, April.
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