Long Odds

Mar 30 2012 @ 2:02pm

The lottery has reached $640 million, which is "the biggest lottery jackpot in U.S. history." Brad Plumer examines winning strategies and their downsides:

[One] strategy would simply be to buy up every single ticket combination. That would cost $176 million. But you’d be guaranteed to win about $293 million in taxes. Good deal, right? But there’s one big hitch: “First, if it takes five seconds to fill out each card, you’d need almost 28 years just to mark the bubbles on the game tickets. You’d also use up the national supply of special lottery paper and lottery-machine printing ink well before all your tickets could be printed out.” (Also, if just one other person picked the winning number, you’d end up losing $30 million all told.)