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Lotteries long for 'jackpot fever'

Topic closed. 63 replies. Last post 10 years ago by tony95.

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Knoxville
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April 7, 2005
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Posted: February 14, 2007, 1:01 pm - IP Logged

People are not getting desensitized to large pots.  I contend a threshold has been met and whether the pot is $100, $200, or even $300 million the WOW factor is extremely high for most people.  However, people are paying more attention to the deminishing chance of winning anything.  Raising the odds has a negative psychological effect on the buyer which cannot be overcome by a slightly higher jackpot amount.  This is excerbated by the fact that with higher odds people wait longer to get into the game which makes the pot grow slower which kills sales.

I live in TN and there is no state game that meets my need for something between 20million:1 and 80million:1 odds.  Since they killed Lotto South, there isn't even a state I can drive to that will meet my desire to play something like I have described and Lotto South was only 12million:1 which I consider a little too low.

There is another option, but I am afraid people may hate it.  I know there has been a lot of resistance to this idea.  They could increase the price to $2 a ticket and cut the odds in half for all prizes.  The Buy-In to Payout ratio would remain the same but people would win twice as often.  Also, the pot would grow faster because people would no longer be able to buy a single $1 ticket which is, in my opinion, too cheap at this point anyway.  So, you could have 70million:1 odds and the pot could still reach $300+ million.  I still favor creating a Mini-Powerball in addition to the Regular Powerball.

    bobby623's avatar - abstract
    San Angelo, Texas
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    Posted: February 14, 2007, 3:57 pm - IP Logged

    I haven't read all of the comments, and this might duplicate what's been said.

    I play one, two, sometimes three different lotteries everyday. I have friends who also play regularly.

    Just about everytime we talk about the lotteries we play, our success and failures, one complaint always rises to the top - the lottery is run buy a bunch of greedy folks who are trying to increases profits. These folks really believe that us dumb players will continue to play, no matter what they do. They are generally right.

    Maybe one day, a not so greedy person will take over a lottery and decide that while bigger and bigger jackpots will squeeze money out of the non-regular players, higher second-level prizes will most likely have the most success.

    If Powerball and MegaMillions, even the state lotteries, would pay a minimum prize of $10, I believe a large segment of non-regulars would invest more often.

    $10 for the Powerball and Mega Balls, $15 for PB+1/MB+1, and larger prizes for the other prize levels,  may slow the rate in which the jackpot grows, but a large percentage of those prizes will be reinvested.

    I think the lottery folks need realize that the the so-called 'jackpot fatigue' is a phony claim. There might be a few players who will abstain until the jackpot reaches some obscene level, but I think most regular players would be happy to win smaller jackpots. I know I would.

     Bobby

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      Posted: February 14, 2007, 5:13 pm - IP Logged

      People are not getting desensitized to large pots.  I contend a threshold has been met and whether the pot is $100, $200, or even $300 million the WOW factor is extremely high for most people.  However, people are paying more attention to the deminishing chance of winning anything.  Raising the odds has a negative psychological effect on the buyer which cannot be overcome by a slightly higher jackpot amount.  This is excerbated by the fact that with higher odds people wait longer to get into the game which makes the pot grow slower which kills sales.

      I live in TN and there is no state game that meets my need for something between 20million:1 and 80million:1 odds.  Since they killed Lotto South, there isn't even a state I can drive to that will meet my desire to play something like I have described and Lotto South was only 12million:1 which I consider a little too low.

      There is another option, but I am afraid people may hate it.  I know there has been a lot of resistance to this idea.  They could increase the price to $2 a ticket and cut the odds in half for all prizes.  The Buy-In to Payout ratio would remain the same but people would win twice as often.  Also, the pot would grow faster because people would no longer be able to buy a single $1 ticket which is, in my opinion, too cheap at this point anyway.  So, you could have 70million:1 odds and the pot could still reach $300+ million.  I still favor creating a Mini-Powerball in addition to the Regular Powerball.

      I wouldn't necessarily say that people will win twice as often, because a lot of people would stop as many tickets with a price increase. But there would be more winners overall for sure, especially if they added more prizes.

      And there already is a mini-Powerball, it's called Hot Lotto. Not really the kind of odds you're looking for, but it is played exactly the same way as Powerball.

      (insert signature here)

        konane's avatar - wallace
        Atlanta, GA
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        Posted: February 14, 2007, 5:35 pm - IP Logged

        People are not getting desensitized to large pots.  I contend a threshold has been met and whether the pot is $100, $200, or even $300 million the WOW factor is extremely high for most people.  However, people are paying more attention to the deminishing chance of winning anything.  Raising the odds has a negative psychological effect on the buyer which cannot be overcome by a slightly higher jackpot amount.  This is excerbated by the fact that with higher odds people wait longer to get into the game which makes the pot grow slower which kills sales.

        I live in TN and there is no state game that meets my need for something between 20million:1 and 80million:1 odds.  Since they killed Lotto South, there isn't even a state I can drive to that will meet my desire to play something like I have described and Lotto South was only 12million:1 which I consider a little too low.

        There is another option, but I am afraid people may hate it.  I know there has been a lot of resistance to this idea.  They could increase the price to $2 a ticket and cut the odds in half for all prizes.  The Buy-In to Payout ratio would remain the same but people would win twice as often.  Also, the pot would grow faster because people would no longer be able to buy a single $1 ticket which is, in my opinion, too cheap at this point anyway.  So, you could have 70million:1 odds and the pot could still reach $300+ million.  I still favor creating a Mini-Powerball in addition to the Regular Powerball.

        Doubling the price of tickets is paying lotteries for their skewed analysis which solves no problem, only buries spurs deeper in our sides figuratively speaking. 

        Lotteries like governments and politicians need to be put on fiscal diets until they can begin thinking like people who live in the real world like the rest of us. 

        Good luck to everyone!

          MissNYC's avatar - diva
          Westchester, New York
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          Posted: February 14, 2007, 6:18 pm - IP Logged

          I think that people will become desensitized to any jackpot amount, over time.  The odds are just about right for a multistate game.  Let people play state games if they want an easier target.

          I do agree that it's too tough to win a prize.  I say, reconstruct the matrix with fewer bonus balls.  Increase lower tier payouts a bit.  Maybe a 5/69 + 1/15?  Or 5/55 + 2/10.  They have 168m and 156m combinations, respectively.

          Give out $1, $2, $3, prizes for matching a bonus ball or two.  If people won on every 10 or 15 lines, they would come back, and feel that they were so close!  That will drive interest, fun and sales.

          I agree! If you want better odds, play another game, there's certainly plenty out there. I also think it would be a good idea to increase smaller prize amounts as well as odds, but I think the larger odds for the jackpot should remain the same. Maybe increase the number of bonus balls and decrease the general pool of balls? I know I get excited when the jackpots grow, I never really think I'll win and typically play $5 a draw when the pot grows to 100 mil and $10 when it gets to 200.  I always remember that some people have won playing $5-10, cause it only takes $1 and a dream. I don't think any winner really ever believed they'd win, but that's part of the fun. (Except for this young girl from CA who won the California Super Lotto last year, I saw the story on E!) My point is that no lottery shouldn't be rationalized, it's a game about dreams for dreamers.

            LOTTOMIKE's avatar - cash money.jpg
            Tennessee
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            Posted: February 15, 2007, 2:32 am - IP Logged

            the only fever i'm going to have is if i win the jackpot!

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              Knoxville
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              Posted: February 15, 2007, 10:24 am - IP Logged

              I wouldn't necessarily say that people will win twice as often, because a lot of people would stop as many tickets with a price increase. But there would be more winners overall for sure, especially if they added more prizes.

              And there already is a mini-Powerball, it's called Hot Lotto. Not really the kind of odds you're looking for, but it is played exactly the same way as Powerball.

              Well, what I meant is that relative to tickets sold, twice as many would be winners which if the complaint is that people never see a winning ticket then this would help that perseption.   It's probably a bad idea, because raising the price would meet sooo much resistance and I do think a lot of people would be pissed off and possibly stop playing.

              Hot Lotto has something like 10million:1 odds, this doesn't come close to 30million:1 or 50million:1 which I am suggesting as an optional game.  Also, it should be available in every Powerball state which it is not.  We have PB but not Hot Lotto here and I can't drive to buy Hot Lotto tickets because it would cost me $40 bucks in gas and 7 hours time to drive all the way to W. Virginia.  If Hot Lotto picks up Tennessee and triples its odds then I will be a happy camper, but I doubt that will happen.


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                Posted: February 15, 2007, 10:32 am - IP Logged

                Well, what I meant is that relative to tickets sold, twice as many would be winners which if the complaint is that people never see a winning ticket then this would help that perseption.   It's probably a bad idea, because raising the price would meet sooo much resistance and I do think a lot of people would be pissed off and possibly stop playing.

                Hot Lotto has something like 10million:1 odds, this doesn't come close to 30million:1 or 50million:1 which I am suggesting as an optional game.  Also, it should be available in every Powerball state which it is not.  We have PB but not Hot Lotto here and I can't drive to buy Hot Lotto tickets because it would cost me $40 bucks in gas and 7 hours time to drive all the way to W. Virginia.  If Hot Lotto picks up Tennessee and triples its odds then I will be a happy camper, but I doubt that will happen.

                IMO Hot Lotto will continue to add states. By the time it comes to Tennessee (if it does) it probably would have longer jackpot odds.

                I agree one reason Lotto South was replaced by GA-KY-VA Lose for Life was that the jackpot odds were too low. In fact, Lotto VA was replaced by Lotto South; both games had the SAME 6/49 matrix.

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                  NY
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                  Posted: February 15, 2007, 3:56 pm - IP Logged

                  This is absolutely correct!

                  The issue is NOT that the jackpots are too low.

                  The problem is that the odds are so high that many people rationalize that they are not going to win.

                  The "magic level" where people start coming out in droves to buy tickets is a perception level that kicks in when the jackpot is so high that it overcomes their rational thoughts about not being able to win.

                  That's all it is.  It is NOT that people think $100 million is a small amount.  No way!  It's that they have such a strong belief that they will not win that it seems pointless -- even wasteful -- to plunk down a dollar (or $5 or $10).  Buying a pack of gum with that dollar would bring more joy.

                  What if they created an anti-mutli-state game?  One that focused on generating as many millionaires as possible (given the constraints of the prize payout percentages, etc.).  If they generated 20 or 30 millionaires every drawing (I'm talking $1 million in cash, not some "cash value" that chops it down to $200,000 after taxes), does anyone think people wouldn't play because $1 million isn't enough?

                  Are you suggesting that people are smart enough to know their chances of winning are extremely slim with odds of 1 in 150 million, but will think they've got a realistic chance with odds of 1 in 75 million? Even with smaller games the odds are high enough that the only rational thought is that you won't win. With 1 in 20 million odds spending $1000 a year means you should expect to win once every 20,000 years.

                  For the most part, the lottery pays out 50 cents for every dollar they collect, and the only rational thought is that you'll lose half of what you bet. The only question is whether or not you risk that loss aginst the possibility of being  among the minority who win. Maybe it's just  a matter of perspective, but I don't think sales for  huge jackpots have anything to do with overcoming rational thoughts about winning. I think it's a mixture of  regular players concentrating their efforts on the huge jackpots and people who rarely play figuring there's no more risk in spending a buck or two  on lottery tickets than buying that pack of gum that will also be gone in a day or two. Buying a ticket and expecting to win is irrational, but figuring you can afford to lose the $1 for the very slim chance of winning isn't, and the odds don't have anything to do with that.

                  Whether it's lottery sales or anything else, plenty of people are always ready to jump up and down and point to a single cause for whatever they happen to be concerned about, but life is almost never that simple. There are dozens of possible reasons why lottery sales  change. Perception of the odds is only one of them, and probably a minor one for most people. It's no more or less rational to spend $20 for a 1 in 125,000  chance of winning $1 million than to spend  $1 for a 1 in 175 million chance of winning $10 or 100 million. The rational people know they'll probably lose the money and play withj money they can afford to lose. As many posters here have pointed out, a lot of people stop for gas, cigarettes or a newspaper and decide to buy a ticket or two while they're at it. Most people have a limited amount of money to play around with (and most of the rest aren't buying a lot of lottery tickets anyway) so they have to decide what to buy and what not to buy. It makes perfect sense to me that lottery sales would be lower when filling your car with gas costs $50 than when it costs $25, so why is everybody so sure the odds are the most important reason to most players?

                  Just what would this "anti-multi state game" be, and how would it work?  To pay $20 or 30 million in prizes for each drawing would require collecting well over $20 or 30 million, assuming the lottery still intends to make a profit and that there won't be any prizes other than the $1 million. $50 million in PB sales means an advertised jackpot of about $60 million, which which generally comes after the 2nd roll. If it takes PB a week and a half to sell enough tickets to put $25 million in the prize pool how can you have a game that isn't multi state or that has  drawings more than a couple of times a year?

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                    Posted: February 15, 2007, 3:59 pm - IP Logged

                    "They could increase the price to $2 a ticket and cut the odds in half for all prizes. The Buy-In to Payout ratio would remain the same but people would win twice as often."

                    The buy-in to payout ratio will remain exactly the same, while people will have to spend twice as much to win twice as often. Any player with a lick of sense will know that's not any different than buying tickets two at a time with the current setup. The only difference is that people won't have the option of buying a single ticket. Doubling the price of tickets while keeping the same payout ratio is nothing more than a good way to get rid of all the players who only buy one ticket.

                      sirbrad's avatar - Lottery-062.jpg
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                      Posted: February 15, 2007, 4:10 pm - IP Logged

                      The only thing I like about the astronomical odds, is that I take home a hefty prize; and will most likely enjoy it as the sole winner. I would rather that than splitting a $100,000 with 5 people. Low tier prizes do nothing for me, except lower the cost of playing. But I don't wait until the jackpot is $100 million before I play. Honestly I would not mind the $5 million in cash, or whatever it is; as it is about as anonymous as I will get. Especially after a record jackpot winner.

                      People see $300 million they just lose it, and more people play. But then you also may have mutiple winners, which also is not going to sting as bad with the jackpot that high. The lottery wins everytime we lose, I would love to be in their situation. Then when we win so does the IRS. One thing I cannot stand about the lotties, the false jackpot claims, and how much the greedy hand of the IRS wants. They win everytime someone else does.

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                        Posted: February 15, 2007, 11:23 pm - IP Logged

                        I don't think it is as simple as "jackpot fatigue" - everyone I know thinks $2 million is a huge amount of money, let alone $50 or $100 million. They have to consider the downturn began after they raised the odds and lengthened the annuity length so they could advertise higher jackpots without actually having more money in the pot.  People catch on to things like that, people know the advertised amount is pretty much a con and the cash option is far lower and even lower after taxes.  Yes, you can say they had to raise odds so that they could expand the games to more states, and maybe that's true. But that does nothing to address the burnout people feel week after week of not winning. 

                        These are also brutal economic times, with foreclosures going way up, health costs and gas prices way up,  people not getting raises, a brutal and expensive war on, talk of apocalyptic global warming, and people feel besieged on all sides. It might be harder to spend that $1 you really need on something with 176 million to 1 odds.   

                        The fatigue comes from the odds of winning and the state of the world, not the amount of money in the jackpot. 

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                          boston
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                          Posted: February 16, 2007, 10:05 am - IP Logged

                          when I worked at 7-11 few years ago I told regular lotttery players that when they came into the store, they could give me 100 bucks and I would guarante they left the store with 50 in their pocket. Thats what masslottery does, it takes money from people and gives back nothing. thats why sales are off 38%

                            chasingadream's avatar - Archangel 01.jpg

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                            Posted: February 16, 2007, 2:10 pm - IP Logged

                            well im not going for the jackpot......i wanna get 2nd prize on either game.

                            Oogle  waiting patiently for my jackpot

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                              Knoxville
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                              Posted: February 16, 2007, 4:10 pm - IP Logged

                              Are you suggesting that people are smart enough to know their chances of winning are extremely slim with odds of 1 in 150 million, but will think they've got a realistic chance with odds of 1 in 75 million? Even with smaller games the odds are high enough that the only rational thought is that you won't win. With 1 in 20 million odds spending $1000 a year means you should expect to win once every 20,000 years.

                              For the most part, the lottery pays out 50 cents for every dollar they collect, and the only rational thought is that you'll lose half of what you bet. The only question is whether or not you risk that loss aginst the possibility of being  among the minority who win. Maybe it's just  a matter of perspective, but I don't think sales for  huge jackpots have anything to do with overcoming rational thoughts about winning. I think it's a mixture of  regular players concentrating their efforts on the huge jackpots and people who rarely play figuring there's no more risk in spending a buck or two  on lottery tickets than buying that pack of gum that will also be gone in a day or two. Buying a ticket and expecting to win is irrational, but figuring you can afford to lose the $1 for the very slim chance of winning isn't, and the odds don't have anything to do with that.

                              Whether it's lottery sales or anything else, plenty of people are always ready to jump up and down and point to a single cause for whatever they happen to be concerned about, but life is almost never that simple. There are dozens of possible reasons why lottery sales  change. Perception of the odds is only one of them, and probably a minor one for most people. It's no more or less rational to spend $20 for a 1 in 125,000  chance of winning $1 million than to spend  $1 for a 1 in 175 million chance of winning $10 or 100 million. The rational people know they'll probably lose the money and play withj money they can afford to lose. As many posters here have pointed out, a lot of people stop for gas, cigarettes or a newspaper and decide to buy a ticket or two while they're at it. Most people have a limited amount of money to play around with (and most of the rest aren't buying a lot of lottery tickets anyway) so they have to decide what to buy and what not to buy. It makes perfect sense to me that lottery sales would be lower when filling your car with gas costs $50 than when it costs $25, so why is everybody so sure the odds are the most important reason to most players?

                              Just what would this "anti-multi state game" be, and how would it work?  To pay $20 or 30 million in prizes for each drawing would require collecting well over $20 or 30 million, assuming the lottery still intends to make a profit and that there won't be any prizes other than the $1 million. $50 million in PB sales means an advertised jackpot of about $60 million, which which generally comes after the 2nd roll. If it takes PB a week and a half to sell enough tickets to put $25 million in the prize pool how can you have a game that isn't multi state or that has  drawings more than a couple of times a year?

                              The odds are long either way, but yes people are smart enough to know that 75million:1 odds are much better than 150million:1.  Whether it's rational to play at all is another question altogether.  If your suggesting the odds don't matter then why not just up them to 500million:1?  You think people would still play?  The fact is that odds do matter, but more importantly odds changes matter more.  People know when they increase the odds 25 percent that what is really happening is that players are being asked to spend more to get the same chance they had before.  For me and apparently many others here it was the increase in the odds that has discouraged us from playing as much as I we before the change.