I've heard this before, but why do you need a ticket to fantasize about what you'd do with that much money? It can be a conversation starter and I can see the excitement aspect in watching your numbers come up (if you don't have a hundred combos to watch at once), but fantasizing is free.
the likelihoods of the two events are similar, and one fantasy is free.
And props to you if you're a true rationalist who derive nearly equal amounts of satisfaction from both fantasy events, but most people don't behave like that.
Have you ever bought lottery tickets?
1e-9 and 1e-100 should both round to 0.
and since people spend all sorts of time imagining things with likelihood _0_ (or downright counterfactual!), 1e-100 should be plenty to get you rolling.
> How often do you find discarded tickets for future drawings on the street??
you're already fantasizing a wildly improbable chains of events (buy ticket, win max amount, and then, unlike a huge number of winners avoid having your entire life ruined by it), but imagining finding a piece of paper on the street is a step too far?
and if "found it on the street" is _really_ the problem, you could always choose to fantasize that someone gives you a ticket, or even just pretend that you purchased a ticket. (that's hardly improbable, after all.)
That's fine, then don't buy them yourself, but it makes no sense to argue against other people's actual experienced feelings and thoughts. You can't use logic to "win" this.
and yet here you are, producing justifications about how your fantasy has to have particular levels of believability, instead of just saying "i like doing it".
Telling people that they have a 95% chance of winning nothing at all is not a good way of selling lottery tickets.
Likewise, the difference in impact between winning $0 and winning $2 million is likely a lot larger than the difference between winning $2 million and winning $4 million. So a straight EV calculation doesn't really tell the whole story.
There's also the entertainment value of participating in the lottery to consider, even when you win nothing.
“Do Not Play the Lottery Unless You Are a Millionaire”