Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Statistical Heresy

From what I recall of statistics (read: not much) a wager is considered worth while if the buy-in multiplied by the pay-out is greater than the odds against winning. So, when they say that
Ticket buyers played their kids' birthdays, their wedding anniversaries, even a set of numbers taken straight from the TV show "Lost," in hopes of winning $340 million Wednesday in the second-biggest lottery jackpot in U.S. history.

The odds of hitting all six numbers were 1 in 146 million.

mean that for once the lottery is actually a worthwhile bet? By a factor of 2+? Of course that does assume that one gets all of it, and takes into account that the value would be even less if taken as a lump sum.

Update: Shows you what I knew about the math. Corrected to multiply

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