Someone Has to Win – It Just Isn’t Going to Be You!

I wrote in this space a couple of years ago about the unlikelihood of winning the Powerball or other large lotteries.

I ended that column by leaving open the following big question: “How does anyone win, if the probability is so small?” The occurrence of recent winners of big jackpots reminded me that this question should be answered.

First, let’s do a quick review. The probability of winning the Powerball Jackpot is about 1 in 175 million. Mega Millions is worse — about 1 in 259 million. In the previous post, I noted that 175 million one-dollar bills, laid end-to-end, would make two laps around the lower 48 states. Envision yourself walking around that thousands-of-miles-long-stretch of dollar bills, having just one chance to pick the “lucky dollar bill.” Your chances of picking that one lucky bill are the same as your chance of winning the big lottery jackpot. That is, it isn’t going to happen!

But, you say, it happened to Harold Diamond, an 80-year-old resident of Wurtsboro, New York, in the Mega Millions lottery last November. That’s true! So, if you are Harold Diamond, you can tell me I’m wrong. But for the rest of you, in the words —> Read More Here


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