1.28 Billion US Dollars - to play or not to play. That is the question

The Mega Millions jackpot has risen to 1.28 Billion (!) dollars. The drawing is tonight at 11pm EST (UTC-5 I think).

Should one play or not? If you don't purchase at least 1 ticket (plus the multiplier) you have zero chance to win any of the prizes. But the odds of winning are astronomically against any individual actually winning anything at all.

So, I ask, do you feel lucky? Do ya punk? (Clint Eastwood reference there)
 
The odds are astronomical against any one particular person winning, but not against some person winning. Someone will win, if not today, then soon. I believe that a single person won the largest lottery jackpot ever in 2018, $1.5 billion! Insane.

What playing gives to any particular person is 1) a non-zero chance to win, and 2) the chance to indulge in, able-to-buy-anything fantasies for a few days, at the cost of $2.
 
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The higher the amount, and the more people buy tickets, the lower the chances of winning.
But hope is how casinos stay in business. If they called it "voluntary tax contribution" would
it seem as attractive?
Additional players don’t reduce your chance of winning, they only increase the chance that the jackpot may be split. However, they also increase the size of the jackpot itself. As far as jackpot splitting is concerned, I’d be quite comfortable splitting nearly $1.3B. Even an extremely unlikely 10-way split would afford each winning player $128M!
 
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I'd be kinda afraid to win that much money unless it was a completely anonymous transaction. If not, I'd feel like a freshly laid turd covered in flies, hundreds of them fighting for a landing spot.
Winning can be anonymous, it’s the winner’s choice. For example, it was never announced who won the 2018 $1.5B jackpot. They remain unknown to this day.
 
Back when I worked at DEC, there was a fellow named Raj. Raj would do things like make two PDP-11 cpu boards work in tandem across the same backplane, share memory and peripherals. One day I quipped "I wonder what the probability of drawing two consecutive integers in the lottery is" after observing that happen a couple of times. Raj told me the problem bugged him, so he calculated it. All I can remember is that it was bigger than .5! So, when you bet, try to throw a consecutive pair somewhere in the mix. It might help.
 
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invaderzim

Member
2015-10-07 4:07 am
Cheaper than a movie for a couple hours of entertainment.
Exactly. If played for fun it makes sense. A group used to throw in a buck each and get some at work when the amounts got interesting. Then they decided if we each put in $10 we could improve our odds... they wouldn’t realize that 25 out of 300,000,000 isn’t much better than 5. I wasnt playing with the group to make our odds so much better but because it was fun talking about it Andy dreaming for a buck. When it hit $10 and $20 it wasn’t worth it anymore.
 
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