The Lottery

(A repeat from January 4, 2015) In 1996, 14 members of my old law firm won the Illinois State Lottery.  All six numbers on a Wednesday night drawing.  $4.4 million over 20 years divided 14 ways.  I was one of two attorneys to participate (you can do the math).   My secretary had asked me for two dollars (okay). No one retired. . . .

I still play a $1.00 Lotto ticket to the tune of $104 a year.  For yucks.   Same family numbers each week.  I win a few bucks here and there but so far, lightning has not struck twice.  Why?  The odds of winning are one in 20,358,520.  The odds of winning the Powerball are 1 in 175,223,510.

I’ve always thought that states could reap a huge windfall of tax money by taking a new approach.  Instead of picking 6 or 7 numbers (between 1 and 52 or whatever) – pick one single number between 1 and 175,223,510.  You’re gonna have a lot of people picking “711” or their birth year or their child’s birthday (1252007).  But how many people will pick 12 or 147,996 or 174,224,011?   You probably won’t have many who pick in the stratosphere of numbers.  And yet — the odds remain the same.  What will happen?  The quick answer — no one will win.  State coffers will overflow.  And politicians will have to think up new ways to waste money. 

As for me, I’m gonna play 106,228,003.  And take it to the bank.  Ka-ching ka-ching . . . . .