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Believe It or Not… +EV Lottery

No one has won the Texas Lotto since May 13. Because the jackpot builds until someone wins it (reminiscent of the old Party Poker Bad Beat Jackpot), the current jackpot is now $59 million. Normally, the jackpot is paid out over 26 years, but the winner has the option to take a $38 million lump sum prize.

The odds of winning the jackpot are about 1:25.8 million, so the lottery is pretty +EV right now.

Given the long odds of winning, it doesn’t really matter unless you bought all of the lotto tickets and guaranteed yourself the winner. Of course, you’d screw yourself over if someone else won at the same time and had to split the pot.

I estimate the lottery sells about 3.2 million tickets for each drawing, based on how much the jackpot builds and the number of small winners. The Texas Lotto claimed there were a total of 45,282 winning tickets (the vast majority of  these ‘winning’ tickets are people hitting 3 out of 6 numbers for a whopping $3 prize). The overall odds of winning anything are 1:71, so that would bring a guesstimate of 3.2 million tickets.

So, there’s about a 1/8 chance of someone else winning the lottery right now. This means if you bought every ticket, there’s a 7/8 chance of taking home 38 million (worth an EV of $33 million) and about a 1/8 chance of getting $19 million (worth an EV of $2.4 million). Total EV is $35.4 million and you spend $25.8 million on the tickets, so you’re up almost ten million.

This doesn’t even factor into the fact that if you bought every ticket, there would be an extra $25 million added to the prize pool that was more than expected, so the actual jackpot would be even higher. Also, you’d hit a lot of little winners (hitting 3 of 6, 4 of 6, and 5 of 6), so you’d make a lot of money that way too.

Anyone got $25.8 million to put up, a crew of ticket bubblers, and the cojones to try this out?


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