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That's the disconnect. Each draw's odds are independent, but each draw's winnings aren't.

So there's a collectivism that goes into a growing pot. This is the only thing that really makes a "rollover" enticing to players. If each draw was an isolated incident, the "windfall" mechanic the article describes would be in place for every draw. So a collective pitches in, and the pot is distributed amongst the collective's members (the players) according to how successful each ticket is. So if there's no 6-number winners, there's more left in the pot for the 5-number winners. If there's 5-number winners, there's more left in the pot for the 4-number winners, etc.

(Either that, or the house makes out like bandits. State lotteries are usually regulated to keep a distinction between the pot and the profit, hence such pot-emptying mechanisms.)

But if the pot rolls over - it's not distributed, but added to the pot for the next draw - you now have more than one collective. One collective that's contributed to the pot (over n draws), and one collective that participates in the winning game (over 1 draw). And if there's a significant disconnect between the two, then yes - as one commenter put it, sour grapes. It's the difference between feeling like you've lost a fair game, and feeling like you've been hustled.

Technically it makes zero difference. But if it makes people less inclined to play in future, then it's bad for the long-term health of the game.

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