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In Search of a Fair Bet in the Lottery

Victor Matheson () and Kent Grote
Additional contact information
Kent Grote: Lake Forest College, http://www.lakeforest.edu/academics/faculty/grote/

No 2003-16, Department of Economics Working Papers from Department of Economics, Williams College

Abstract: Although state-operated lotto games have the worst average expected payoffs among common games of chance, because the jackpot can accumulate, the maximum expected payoff is potentially unlimited. It is possible, therefore, that lotto can exhibit a positive expected return. This paper examines 18,000 drawings in 34 American lotteries and finds approximately 1% of these drawings provided players with a fair bet. Furthermore, if it were possible for a bettor to purchase every possible combination, most lotteries commonly experience circumstances where such a purchase would provide a positive return with 11% of the drawings providing a fair bet to the player.

Keywords: Lotto; Lottery; Gambling (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: D81 H71 L83 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2003-08
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Published in Eastern Economic Journal, Vol. 32:4 (Fall 2006), 673- 684.

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http://web.williams.edu/Economics/wp/mathesonlottery.pdf Full text (application/pdf)

Related works:
Journal Article: In Search of a Fair Bet in the Lottery (2006) Downloads
Working Paper: In Search of a Fair Bet in the Lottery (2004) Downloads
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