# Lottery is an "Idiot Tax": Agree or Disagree?

JMCC 2012/08/29 17:24:13
You!
Some people call the lottery an "idiot tax" because of the probability of winning, do you agree?

The Jackpot - 6 Numbers
6 numbers are drawn at random from the set of integers between 1 and 49, which means there are 49!/(6!*(49-6)!) combinations of numbers (the draw order doesn't matter). The means that the jackpot chance is 1 in 13,983,816 or approximately 1 in 14 million.

5 Numbers + Bonus Number
You are still matching 6 numbers from the 1 to 49 set as above, but you can now do it in 6 different ways (by dropping each of the main numbers in turn), therefore the chance is 1 in 13,983,816/6, which works out as 1 in 2,330,636.

5 Numbers
This is 42 times more likely than getting 5 numbers + the bonus number because, after the first six balls are drawn, there are 43 balls left and you can match 42 of these 43 balls without matching the bonus number. Therefore the chance is 1 in 2,330,636/42, which evaluates to 1 in 55,491.33333.

### Sort By Most Raves Least Raves Oldest Newest text size Opinions

• Jim in SC 2012/08/30 01:32:54
I agree because...
I've always said that the lottery is a tax on people who are bad at math.
I agree because...
..exactly.
• DeeB 2012/08/29 23:59:23
I agree because...
I do have to agree even though I might buy a couple tickets a week. Funny I was just saying to a friend that I wanted to stop supporting the government by not buying any more of them.
• Boblawbla DeeB 2012/08/30 10:55:39
Just send me the money. I need it more than the government does.
• DeeB Boblawbla 2012/08/30 11:52:43
I actually need it more than them and is why I thought I should stop spending it!
• DH 2012/08/29 17:51:44
Undecided
That is a funny way of looking at it, but people do win smaller prizes on a more regular basis. The lottery in my state is used to fund public education, though, so I am not going to discourage it in any way (even though I don't play).
• Dagon 2012/08/29 17:40:56
• DeeB Dagon 2012/08/30 00:02:26
Portions? They get about half of the total jackpot if you take the lump sum, then they tax you on your winnings and every year afterwards.
• Dagon DeeB 2012/08/30 03:15:03
• DeeB Dagon 2012/08/30 11:55:25
Ya but the point is, those bucks add up, and some people could have bought a home had they not threw it away on a dream! What I get a real kick out of is that gambling is illegal unless it's the governments. They get enough of the peoples money.
• Dagon DeeB 2012/08/30 16:03:52
• Mel 2012/08/29 17:26:50
I disagree because...
IDK why? The only people that get taxed are the winners.
• JMCC Mel 2012/08/29 17:30:02
On the whole players pay more in than they get out...
• Mel JMCC 2012/08/29 17:32:22
That's true but where does this "Tax" thing come into play? I don't pay a tax on my tickets I purchase.
• JMCC Mel 2012/08/29 17:35:54
It is suggested that it is "an idiot tax" because people are voluntarily paying the money for no return...

The implication is that the purchase of the ticket is a "tax on idiots", because only an idiot would expect a return from a bet with such long odds...
• DH Mel 2012/08/29 17:54:31
Lotteries are instituted by state governments and part of the income is used to fund state projects. In North Carolina, it's exclusively used for public education, for instance. In that sense, it's a tax.