16 thoughts on “1000 Words To Explain”

    1. Yep. The referendum that set up the California lottery was on the ballot while I lived there. I was originally opposed to the lottery because I believe that the government has no business taking over a function effectively run by private enterprise, and the mob wasn't having problems running the numbers. However, when I got into the voting booth, it struck me that the lottery was a tax on stupidity and that I was exempt. I punched the YES window on the ballot card.

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    2. I don't play regularly, but on the occasions I do, I excuse the additional tax as being dollars the government will take from me one way or another, and at least giving it to them via the lottery I choose when. There's also a bonus infinitesimal chance that I'll even get something back by "investing" (haha), that money with the government, unlike many of the dollars it extracts from us.

      Do any of you nay-sayers believe the government would reduce its spending if lottery sales dropped precipitously? Or do you think it much more likely they'd increase other taxes and fees to make up the shortfall?

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  1. For all you lottery haters, please tell me:

    1) What are the odds that I will be given that amount of money legally any other way? Compare this number to the odds of winning the lottery. Hint: one is MUCH bigger than the other, because while one is a fixed odds, the other is infinitesimally smaller.

    2) For $2, I get to entertain myself with dreams of luxury and freedom, for a period of several hours or days, depending how far in advance I buy my ticket. Can you please name another form of purchased entertainment that is such a bargain, and yet has no side-affects?

    3) I know that at least half of my purchase price goes to taxes. So?

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    1. 1) Zero, effectively, same as the odds of your winning The Big One.

      2) Lap dances(/sarc). Spending money on gambling has side effects, else we'd have no need for Gamblers Anonymous.

      3) You are enabling frivolous government spending, with even less accountability than regular taxes.

      Answer me this:

      Why should the government get the monopoly on lotteries?

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    2. agiledog,

      I'm going to take the sentiment expressed in point 2 and apply it to another comment about DUMBFUCK blowing $400 plus postage on his lawsuit. I mean no offense by it; I simply find it an EXCELLENT juxtaposition.

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    3. hahahaha I didn't read your comment before making a very similar one of my own, agiledog, even using some of the same language.

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  2. Just one small question - isn't there a math error in the graphic? 1.3 billion divided by 300 million is 4.33. Not 4.33 million.

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  3. If the crims need to launder cash, the lottery seems to be a way for the Government to take a cut:

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    "http://www.wired.com/2011/01/ff_lottery/

    [...] At the time, authorities thought Bulger was using the lottery to launder money: take illicit profits, buy a share in a winning lottery ticket, redeem it, and end up with clean cash. In this respect, the lottery system seems purpose-built for organized crime, says Michael Plichta, unit chief of the FBI’s organized crime section. “When I was working in Puerto Rico, I watched all these criminals use traditional lottery games to clean their money,” he remembers. “You’d bring these drug guys in, and you’d ask them where their income came from, how they could afford their mansion even though they didn’t have a job, and they’d produce all these winning lottery tickets. That’s when I began to realize that they were using the games to launder cash. [...]”

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    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2023514/Joan-R-Ginther-won-lottery-4-times-Stanford-University-statistics-PhD.html

    "[...] 'Lucky' woman who won lottery four times outed as Stanford University statistics PhD

    By Rachel Quigley
    Updated: 04:02 EST, 10 August 2011

    4

    View comments

    She was called the luckiest woman in the world.

    But now that luck is being called into question by some who think that winning the lottery four times is more than just a coincidental spell of good fortune.

    Joan R. Ginther, 63, from Texas, won multiple million dollar payouts each time.

    Lady luck? Joan Ginther has won the Texas lottery four times, but is it remarkable good fortune or beating the system?

    Luck?: Ms Ginther won four lots of vast sums on lottery scratch cards, half of which were bought at the same mini mart

    First, she won $5.4 million, then a decade later, she won $2million, then two years later $3million and in the summer of 2010, she hit a $10million jackpot.

    The odds of this has been calculated at one in eighteen septillion and luck like this could only come once every quadrillion years.

    Harper's reporter Nathanial Rich recently wrote an article about Ms Ginther, which calls the the validity of her 'luck' into question.

    First, he points out, Ms Ginther is a former math professor with a PhD from Stanford University specialising in statistics. [...]"

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    1. The criminal money laundering story seems, in hindsight, an obvious choice.

      The statistics professor who may have leveraged her job skills into multiple lottery wins has my respect. In the same manner that card counting at the blackjack tables is frowned upon but not illegal (all it is is focused observation, when you get right down to it), I think that anyone who can gain a legitimate edge in a game of chance deserves congratulations, especially if it doesn't affect anyone else's odds.

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      1. Well, except that a plundered game reduces the odds for the average punter: If all the high-paying scratchie cards have been picked off and taken by the insiders/professionals/whomever, the advertised odds for overall returns (e.g. 70%?) don't even apply to the poor unsuspecting punter, queueing at their local vendor/outlet -- the actual odds for them might be lower -- a wild guess -- say 40%.

        Also, there have been cases of vendors noticing high-payout cards, but the player gets told that it's a loser -- and the vendor then arranges to pick up the money themselves, probably via sufficiently indirect means that the organisers don't get suspicious. This was a trouble 5-15 years ago, but some vendors have been caught and prosecuted, and the game consoles redesigned so that the player can see exactly how the betting card fared.

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        1. Agreed.

          I thought that, in the case of the Stanford math professor, we were talking about pick-a-number games, where the odds are fixed and the betting pool limited only by the number of ticket buyers.

          In scratch off games, odds are set and winnings are limited by the number of winning cards created, and cheats hoarding those without doubt shifts the probabilities of the average player getting hands on a winner.

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