I have been doing some musing about which lotteries it makes sense to enter, if any. Am I happier not winning $165 million than not winning $5 million?
This question was very real after Saturday’s results because some lucky Indiana resident won the Powerball prize of $165 million and another lucky Indiana resident won the Hoosier lotto prize of $5million. Is it better to buy a Powerball or Megamillions ticket or a Lotto ticket? There is no immediately obvious answer. The Powerball and Megamillions prizes are significantly higher but the odds against winning are proportionately higher as well.
It seems to me that this is a personal choice based on what sort of life changing event you are looking for. If all you dream about are riches of extraordinary proportions then you have to go for the huge Powerball or Megamillions prizes, knowing that you are extremely unlikely to win. (Like the guy in Benjamin Button who claimed to have been struck by lightning seven times – not believable). If several million dollars would be beyond your wildest dreams, then better to go for Lotto as your chances of winning, although slight, are greater (like being struck by lightning once).
Some people would cope with riches of the $165 million variety, others would be completely over-whelmed. There is plenty of evidence of lottery winners subsequently getting into financial difficulty after winning one or two million. This should not happen. Good financial advice, admittedly hard to find in this day and age, is essential. Some people argue that the lottery is evil because it makes winners unhappy. This seems very condescending. Jack Berry wrote a great book in response to the sort of people who complain that it is tough at the top. He titled it “It’s Tougher At The Bottom”.
Should you buy a lottery ticket at all given the huge odds against winning? I think so because there is a chance you will win whereas without a ticket you will definitely not win. I think it is difficult to justify buying more than one ticket per draw. Does it matter what numbers you choose? For Powerball and Megamillions numbers are not so important although I like to follow How To Pick Lottery Numbers rules just to improve my chance of hitting a rollover week and to avoid multiple winners (happens once in a blue moon). Number picking for Lotto and other games is more important and here again I follow How To Pick Lottery Numbers rules on number selection and rollovers.