I guess they had no trouble with question 3 on the YC application: Please tell us about the time you most successfully hacked some (non-computer) system to your advantage.
Care to share any additional thoughts/experiences on this whole thing?
Why do you still keep them around? Edit: or for how long does the IRS make you keep them, I guess.
A lot of intrigue in it, too, especially with the emergence of the MIT cohort, computer programmers, and electrical engineers.
Excellent decision on the part of the investigative reporter Jason Fagone to tell the story from the vantage of the Selbees.
The article is fun even as it smudges the Selbees (and other bulk ticket purchasers) with a dab of questionable ethics as is appropriate for a (minor-ish) vice such as lottery gambling.
Thanks for sharing.
EDIT: noun verb agreement
If the world was filled with smart gamblers, no one would bet because nothing would be an overlay.
Its like when I see a horse racing win pool go up from $0, to $2. Someone has had a bet. Whats the most they could possibly gain by that bet (given the current pool)? Its about $1.70, so why bet in the first place? I don't know. Maybe they liked the colour of the horse.
Most lotto games are (though not normally to this extreme where large groups can guarantee a profit).
It's a good way of attracting players. As the jackpot gets larger, more and more 'smarter' players play the game. This video gives a good overview of why: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pVKTiXdCDyQ
Showing this "bulk buyers with questionable ethics" point of view made this article especially entertaining and educational.
>The lottery had worked how it was designed to work. In fact, as one financial reporter for Reuters would argue in the days after the report’s release, Cash WinFall was possibly more fair than other lottery games, because it attracted rich players as well as poor ones. Instead of taxing only the poor, it taxed the rich too.
If you're making a profit, you aren't being taxed. Winfall is, in fact less fair - because not only do poor people lose money, but rich people gain money.
>The large groups had bought some $40 million in tickets, $16 million of which was revenue for the state.
No, actually it was negative revenue, since the state payed out more than $40 million in prizes.
P.S. a few years ago Megabucks (Wisconsin lottery) was above pot odds even after taxes and with the cash payout option!
This happens more often than you'd think. For example, eyeballing it, it looks like Indiana's Cash 5 lottery has a positive expected value right now, but I haven't broken out my detailed calculator to confirm.
The other major things you need to account for are the likelihood of splitting the jackpot with other winners, the fact that most people have non-linear utility functions, and the cost of logistics. (This last one may not seem too important, but if you buy more than 10 or so tickets, it becomes readily apparent that the time spent checking whether a ticket is a winner can add up.)
As alluded to early in the article, he was selling 300k in tickets per year, making 20k profit, which is around 6% commission or so.
So when you plan on buying a lot of tickets, choose one agent, and tell them their total paid commission is about to get a significant boost because of you, and you should split it.
If you find a lottery that looks to be an over that is.
I think that's the video where he tells the story (which comes from his book)
> a 1-in-54 chance to pick three out of the six numbers in a drawing, winning $5, and a 1-in-1,500 chance to pick four numbers, winning $100.
> winning three-number combination would put $50 in the player’s pocket instead of $5, and the four-number winners would pay out $1,000 in prize money instead of $100, and all of a sudden, the odds were in your favor.
1 in 54 wins you $50, 1 in 1500 wins you $1000. I feel really dumb right now, as I must be missing something, but how are those winning odds?
> he bet even more on the next roll-down, $8,000, and won $15,700, a 49 percent margin.
Winning $15,700 on an $8,000 wager seems like a 96 percent margin to me, not 49. (Disclaimer: I'm not familiar with betting jargon; might well be that you express margin as (your winnings minus what you paid) as a percentage of your winnings, but seems weird to me...)
In this case, that means $7,700/$15,700, or 49%.