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Oddball 2010-05-05 22:38

A rather difficult lottery
Suppose the U.S. Government was finally fed up with all that debt and tried a new way of getting rid of it: selling special lotto tickets. 15 numbers will be chosen out of 100, and the person who wins will become the richest, most famous, and most powerful person in the world. He/she gets a billion dollars a year and will have the power to do anything in the country for life, regardless of how crazy it is. Nuking country X, executing spammers, and turning the Grand Canyon into a landfill is all fair game. That person will also be given bodyguards and medical personnel to minimize chances of an early death. The government is willing to take this risk because the odds of anyone winning are slim even if the whole world's GDP was spent on it.

All revenue from the lotto will be used to pay off the debt, so there is only one grand prize and no secondary prizes. If you only get 14 out of 15 numbers right, too bad, you get nothing. If more than one person wins, a rock-paper-scissors tournament between the winners will be held to determine who gets to rule the country.

Lotto tickets for this drawing are incredibly cheap: only 1 cent each. Given that, how many tickets, if any, would you be willing to buy? Your chances of winning are infinitely small, but tickets are so cheap that buying some is a small price to pay for a daydream. After all, you'd hardly notice whether a buck was missing from your paycheck, and not many people would pick up a dirty penny lying on the street.

I think I'd spend $10 on those tickets. I've spent more on what turned out to be a dud movie, and the time spent checking those 1,000 tickets would be exciting as any roller coaster. Any other opinions?

retina 2010-05-06 02:05

Each number sequence has 1 in 253,338,471,349,988,640 chance of winning.

I think I would spend $zero. Which is not an option you provided in the poll.

Mathew 2010-05-06 02:18

Is this a strategy for removing pennies from circulation?

Also if Charlie and the Chocolate Factory has taught me anything, I should use that 1 dirty penny lying in the street.

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