Nov 28 2012

Opportunity Society!

Millions chase record $425M Powerball jackpot

By JEFF McMURRAY, Associated Press

18 minutes ago

It’s the gambler’s mantra: Somebody’s gotta win, so why not me?

It’s true to say that you have a better chance of being struck by lightning than winning the Powerball. But that woefully understates the danger of lightning.

Tim Norfolk, a University of Akron mathematics professor who teaches a course on gambling, puts the odds of a lightning strike in a person’s lifetime at 1 in 5,000 (or 1 in 9 million on one particular day). The odds of winning the Powerball jackpot: 1 in 175 million – with no assurances that you won’t have to split the prize with others.

While it may seem counterintuitive, Barrow (Clyde Barrow, professor director of the Center for Policy Analysis at UMass-Dartmouth) says gambling activity often increases as the economy gets worse and people have less disposable income. However, his research – which focused mainly on New England – found the trend reversed in the latest downturn.

“The Great Recession has been so deep and so long, it’s suppressed any kind of discretionary spending across the board,” said Barrow, who added about the same percentage of people are playing the lottery – they’re just buying fewer tickets.

“For 2 bucks, it’s worth a chance,” he said. “What else am I going to do with that $2? I’ll just waste it on something else.”

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