powerball lotto

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If the odds are 1 in about \$300,000,000 and the jackpot is \$1,600,000,000 and the tickets cost \$2 each then why couldn’t I just go buy \$
300,000,000 tickets for \$600,000,000 and pocket one billion dollars

In: 3

In theory I suppose you could. However, it’s not practical. You’d have to manually fill out tickets for each possible combination. Even if you did do that you have to factor in taxes. You’re not netting \$1.6B. And then there’s the risk of multiple winners which would result in you losing money in the end.

You would have to fill out 300,000,000 different combinations or assume that the quick pick tickets don’t make repeat combinations or dumb combinations like 1,2,3,4… You’re also assuming you’re not splitting the winnings with another winner.

In theory you could. Buying 300000000 tickets with every possible combination is not going to be possible though and of course you would need \$300,000,000. If you have that much money would you really consider doing this?

Generally speaking the odds simply don’t line up that much in your favor. In systems with one big prize it will never work out because the payouts aren’t set up that way.

But say they did in like one of the pick a set of numbers lotteries. You buy every ticket number combo guaranteeing a jackpot, and the jackpot has built up so high that even after taxes you can walk away with a profit. However you can’t stop other people buying tickets, and if multiple people win the jackpot is split.

Which means that to make a profit you are gambling no one else wins. And that’s still a negative expected value on the outcome.

Odds don’t equal guaranteed results. Without looking up the specifics, if there were a set 300,000,000 number of possible combinations and you filled out 300,000,000 slips carefully selecting each possible combination, then yes you would win. However, the machine just spits out random numbers and it would be extremely unlikely to get every single possible combination (you’d get many duplicates).

If you take the cash option (as most do), IRS withholds 37% and you get the cash option value which is only \$782,400,000 gross and therefore you get \$492,912,000. So, you lose \$108,000,000 by taking the cash option. This isn’t taking into account State Taxes, which means you lose even more money.

With the annuity option, IRS withholds 24% right away which puts you at \$1,216,000,000. Then you pay state taxes. The problem here is that you don’t get it all at once, so you’d need to come up with most of the \$600,000,000 to buy the lottery tickets from somewhere.

So yes, if you had Elon Musk money and could select every possible option, I *think* you could profit maybe \$500,000,000 over your lifetime.

All this assumes you get the entire pot and nobody else wins (which splits the pot).