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Alan
Topic Author
Posts: 2767
Joined: December 19th, 2001, 4:01 am
Location: California
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Current US Powerball lottery prize: ~$1.9 Billion. Cost to buy every distinct combination: $(69 x 68 x 67 x 66 x 65 x 26/5!) x 2 = 584,402,676$ Go for it!* *Brainteaser: what are the caveats? Alan Topic Author Posts: 2767 Joined: December 19th, 2001, 4:01 am Location: California Contact: ### Re: US Powerball lottery: buy 'em all! Data p.s. Have never bought a lottery ticket! Paul Posts: 6341 Joined: July 20th, 2001, 3:28 pm ### Re: US Powerball lottery: buy 'em all! Is there any data for what numbers people choose? (Bill Ziemba would have loved this!) bearish Posts: 5093 Joined: February 3rd, 2011, 2:19 pm ### Re: US Powerball lottery: buy 'em all! Current US Powerball lottery prize: ~$1.9 Billion.
Cost to buy every distinct combination: $(69 x 68 x 67 x 66 x 65 x 26/5!) x 2 = 584,402,676$
Go for it!*

*Brainteaser: what are the caveats?
You will of course “win”, but I can see four real caveats. First, you need to fund this up front, on very short notice, so you better have your friendly Credit Suisse banker on speed dial. Second, while the headline prize amount is in the $2B neighborhood, the equivalent upfront after tax cash amount is more like$540MM. A good tax lawyer might find a way to deduct the cost of the tickets, but again, time is of the essence here. Third, how do you actually go about procuring a couple of hundred million tickets in a day or two? I’ve also never bought a ticket in one of these things, so this one may just be a matter of my ignorance. And last, but certainly not the least, there is a very good chance that you may have to share the prize, and possibly with multiple other winners (who, unlike you, will probably be ecstatic!).

Alan
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Joined: December 19th, 2001, 4:01 am
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### Re: US Powerball lottery: buy 'em all!

Is there any data for what numbers people choose? (Bill Ziemba would have loved this!)
yeah, the wrong ones.
Seriously, I don't know.

I think bearish has most of the caveats. The logistics of buying all the tickets seems a formidable challenge. The thing could go a few more rounds without a winner, making the after-tax amount attractive to a single winner. Even multiple winners could be attractive if they each bet circa 1/2 billion dollars, as a large fraction of their bets will go into the jackpot and be paid back. But, you could have multiple winners by dumb luck who didn't increase the jackpot much. definitely

Paul
Posts: 6341
Joined: July 20th, 2001, 3:28 pm

### Re: US Powerball lottery: buy 'em all!

The stress...The risk of losing a quarter of a billion pieces of paper in the washing machine...technicalities about being a resident of the states that have the lottery...the publicity that comes with winning/"cheating"/accidentally losing...

I've bought the occasional Powerball ticket when I've been in NYC. Am currently in the UK and the Powerball app I tried using insists on knowing my exact location and won't let me buy even one ticket!

(It always amuses me how otherwise totally irrational people insist on never buying lottery tickets! And telling me about it! There's a strong case to be made for bearish to be locked up in a room with padded walls, but, oh no, he'll never be mad enough to buy a lottery ticket!)

So, how many tickets are we going to buy? In whose name/state? Who has the technical skills to automate the online/app buying process? Which numbers do we choose (that's why we need the data about popular numbers)? I own part of a racehorse, this can't be any worse than that!

Marsden
Posts: 381
Joined: August 20th, 2001, 5:42 pm
Location: Maryland

### Re: US Powerball lottery: buy 'em all!

The old story was that you should include numbers greater than 31 in your choices, assuming you're not buying every combination.

This is because a lot of people use dates for their numbers, and you'll limit your likelihood of having to share with very many of them.

Alan
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Joined: December 19th, 2001, 4:01 am
Location: California
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### Re: US Powerball lottery: buy 'em all!

Re federal taxation in the US, if this is the case law, looks like a winner (as suggested by bearish) should be able to deduct the cost of tickets (as a misc. itemized deduction):

For example, a casual gambler who enters a casino with $100 and redeems his or her tokens for$300 after playing the slot machines has a wagering gain of $200 ($300-$100). So current US individual federal taxes should be approximately 0.37 ($929 - $584) ~$128 million, making the bet quite profitable apart from the logistics.

Alan
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Joined: December 19th, 2001, 4:01 am
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### Re: US Powerball lottery: buy 'em all!

Re logistics, googling suggests there are only about 220,000 lottery outlets in the US. So, even with a national syndicate of (presumably paid) minions, each would need to buy circa 1000 tickets at each outlet (also incurring state taxes in many states). I think the people behind you in line would get rather irritated!

However, as I read this, a retailer is not prohibited from playing. So ... obviously you want to become a retailer and install a *lot* of terminals!

or this
Retailers as Players. Subject to any restrictions placed by the Lottery, Retailers are allowed to purchase and play Lottery games and products. Retailers that play Lottery games and products are required to pay for tickets in full prior to play and are subject to the same rules, conditions, and Lottery regulations as non-Retailer players. Failure to follow any of the Lottery’s rules, conditions, or regulations will result in the denial of Retailer’s prize claim and may result in Contract termination.

Alan
Topic Author
Posts: 2767
Joined: December 19th, 2001, 4:01 am
Location: California
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### Re: US Powerball lottery: buy 'em all!

The old story was that you should include numbers greater than 31 in your choices, assuming you're not buying every combination.

This is because a lot of people use dates for their numbers, and you'll limit your likelihood of having to share with very many of them.
It's a good idea.

I remember a classic Columbo about a lottery jackpot winner; he was a photographer who bet fstop numbers. He won, but didn't want to share with his estranged wife, as they were just about to divorce. So, he went for advice to his trusted Uncle Leon (the late, great Rip Torn). The plan: Leon would collect and then give the nephew his money after the divorce papers were signed. Unfortunately for the photographer, Leon was actually sleeping with his wife, and the two of them conspired to murder him. ('Death Hits the Jackpot')

bearish
Posts: 5093
Joined: February 3rd, 2011, 2:19 pm

### Re: US Powerball lottery: buy 'em all!

The stress...The risk of losing a quarter of a billion pieces of paper in the washing machine...technicalities about being a resident of the states that have the lottery...the publicity that comes with winning/"cheating"/accidentally losing...

I've bought the occasional Powerball ticket when I've been in NYC. Am currently in the UK and the Powerball app I tried using insists on knowing my exact location and won't let me buy even one ticket!

(It always amuses me how otherwise totally irrational people insist on never buying lottery tickets! And telling me about it! There's a strong case to be made for bearish to be locked up in a room with padded walls, but, oh no, he'll never be mad enough to buy a lottery ticket!)

So, how many tickets are we going to buy? In whose name/state? Who has the technical skills to automate the online/app buying process? Which numbers do we choose (that's why we need the data about popular numbers)? I own part of a racehorse, this can't be any worse than that!
For clarity, I’m not opposed to partaking in games of chance. I was merely stating a fact. I’ve played plenty of poker and, while I know that can be considered a game of skill, I’m well aware that my skill level is such that I’ve got to count on some luck. I’ve also been intimate with many a one-armed bandit in Vegas, going back to the days when they actually had an arm that did something. Who knows, I may yet go out and buy my first state lottery ticket tomorrow. How hard can it be? It does seem a bit of a leap to buy a couple hundred million of them, though.

Alan
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Joined: December 19th, 2001, 4:01 am
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### Re: US Powerball lottery: buy 'em all!

No Monday winner; jackpot rises to est \$2.3 Billion for weds.

Alan
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Joined: December 19th, 2001, 4:01 am
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### Re: US Powerball lottery: buy 'em all!

oops -- now reports say a winner -- in California!

Paul
Posts: 6341
Joined: July 20th, 2001, 3:28 pm

### Re: US Powerball lottery: buy 'em all!

Anyone you know?

Alan
Topic Author
Posts: 2767
Joined: December 19th, 2001, 4:01 am
Location: California
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### Re: US Powerball lottery: buy 'em all!

It's possible. I do have a friend in Altadena. (Just sent her an email, asking)