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6 Disturbing Lottery "Trends"

Topic closed. 16 replies. Last post 10 years ago by Greg.

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February 19, 2002
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Posted: January 20, 2007, 9:30 pm - IP Logged

Disturbing Lottery "Trends": (in no particular order)

1) Computerization of lotteries

2) Increasing standard/typical lottery tickets to TWO dollars from one dollar [example: PA's Match 6]

3) Decreasing amount of prizes on ALL levels [example: PA's new Mix & Match which I have renamed "Flip & Switch" and their Match 6, renamed "Botched 6"-- search my previous posts for explanations]

4) Millionaire Raffle Drawings that truly do not offer $1,000,000 after taxes

5) Succeeding or follow-up Millionaire Raffle Drawings that sell at least 125,000 more tickets than in the previous drawing, thus affecting the odds of winning

6) Jackpot games that have increasing number fields while promoting the illusion of winnability by having thus done so

Suggested Remedies:

1) Write governors, legislators and letters-to-the editor exposing the above fraudulent and deceptive practices

2) Blog incessantly about the same

3) Educate the average "non-serious" player about what is really going on

4) Boycott games whose lowered prize levels change the contract between player and state

5) If everyone boycotted Megamillions and Powerball for ONE month, the loss of revenue combined with the power of the "blogosphere" might motivate adjustments to each game that would produce more winners

6) Play smaller number field games and thereby pursue a win that is MORE probable, than highly UNlikely, by using your hard earned dollars more efficiently

    Coin Toss's avatar - shape barbed.jpg
    Zeta Reticuli Star System
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    Posted: January 20, 2007, 11:15 pm - IP Logged

    Greg

    I commend you for your efforts and asking others to get involved. 

    But everytime I see something like this I can't  help but think that the best and only efective mehtod for this would be to simply not play the games such as you mentioned.

    Unfortunately, for some games there are plenty enough people who will play no matter what and that's all the lotteries really need.

    Before Mega Millions added California there was lots of hype in the media about possible $500,000,000 jackpots. Well, that hasn't happened yet, not even close, and as California came in so did the new matrixes, top and bottom.

    See this thread in News:

    http://www.lotterypost.com/news/147188.htm 

    That is the best way to get their attention. 

    Those who run the lotteries love it when players look for consistency in something that's designed not to have any.

    Lep

    There is one and only one 'proven' system, and that is to book the action. No matter the game, let the players pick their own losers.

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      Posted: January 20, 2007, 11:34 pm - IP Logged

      I don't know if I would put Powerball in the same boat as what Philadelphia has done, really.

      However, I would like to see a free replay if you get two of the white balls in Powerball..... I'd be playing for free every drawing. 

        LOTTOMIKE's avatar - cash money.jpg
        Tennessee
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        Posted: January 21, 2007, 8:52 am - IP Logged

        i remember the first time i got 4 out of 5 in powerball.i thought for sure i'd won 5 thousand.ended up being a whole hundred dollars for coming that close.i think the 4 out of 5 prizes should pay more.....

          Todd's avatar - Cylon 2.gif
          Chief Bottle Washer
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          Posted: January 21, 2007, 9:17 am - IP Logged

          i remember the first time i got 4 out of 5 in powerball.i thought for sure i'd won 5 thousand.ended up being a whole hundred dollars for coming that close.i think the 4 out of 5 prizes should pay more.....

          I believe one of the main reasons that the lower-tier prizes are smaller is that all the lower-tier prizes come directly from the state lottery that the ticket was sold in. 

          Powerball is sold in lots of states with small populations, so if they started paying large amounts for the lower prizes, those states would suffer, because they don't have the financial reserve of the larger states.

          If Chuck32 is reading this, maybe he could correct anything I'm saying here, or there may be some other reasons.  (Like I'm sure larger prizes at the lower end would make the jackpot grow slower.)

           

          Check the State Lottery Report Card
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          Sign the Petition for True Lottery Drawings
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            Todd's avatar - Cylon 2.gif
            Chief Bottle Washer
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            Posted: January 21, 2007, 9:30 am - IP Logged

            By the way, Greg, this was an excellent post, you get my "5 stars" for it.

            I agree with each of your points!

            I think a lot of attention should be paid to the raffle games, because they are obviously going to become more and more popular, as lotteries seek to expand their revenues.

            Thus, we should all jump all over the lotteries that don't do them right, and this is a great start.

            I would also add the following regarding raffles:

            • All raffles should offer many small prizes ($100, $500, or $1,000).  California is the first state to NOT offer these prizes, and I would not like to see that trend continue.
            • Like you mentioned, the odds are going to start creeping up, as the lottery directors start getting more greedy about profitting on the game.  People should avoid buying games where the odds are too high.  Can anyone recommend a "sweet spot"?
            • The game should sell out quickly, so the number of tickets must be adjusted so that the game always sells out in a number of weeks.  Nobody wants a raffle game where there isn't pressure to buy your tickets quickly, and the state has to start advertising heavily just to sell out the inventory.  Don't sell a milllion tickets if you can't sell a million tickets in a few weeks.
            • Always hold the drawing on a fixed date, don't change the date.  If you feel that the date needs to be changed because the ticket stock is not sold out, then you weren't paying attention on the last point.
            • Always award all prizes.  Don't wimp out like California just did (sorry to pick on you California) and say you're going to award "between 5 and 10 million-dollar prizes".  That's horrible.  If you are not confident in your ability to sell out the game, then fire yourself.  People can easily sense when the lottery is being too "safe", and they start to question the game.  Does California really believe their game is good?  If so, why would they hedge their bets?  (And don't start throwing around that nonsense about being cautious with the public's money.)

            Anyone care to add to that list?  Feel differently?

             

            Check the State Lottery Report Card
            What grade did your lottery earn?

             

            Sign the Petition for True Lottery Drawings
            Help eliminate computerized drawings!

              Rick G's avatar - avatar 1766.jpg
              FEMA Region V Camp #21
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              Posted: January 21, 2007, 9:48 am - IP Logged

              By the way, Greg, this was an excellent post, you get my "5 stars" for it.

              I agree with each of your points!

              I think a lot of attention should be paid to the raffle games, because they are obviously going to become more and more popular, as lotteries seek to expand their revenues.

              Thus, we should all jump all over the lotteries that don't do them right, and this is a great start.

              I would also add the following regarding raffles:

              • All raffles should offer many small prizes ($100, $500, or $1,000).  California is the first state to NOT offer these prizes, and I would not like to see that trend continue.
              • Like you mentioned, the odds are going to start creeping up, as the lottery directors start getting more greedy about profitting on the game.  People should avoid buying games where the odds are too high.  Can anyone recommend a "sweet spot"?
              • The game should sell out quickly, so the number of tickets must be adjusted so that the game always sells out in a number of weeks.  Nobody wants a raffle game where there isn't pressure to buy your tickets quickly, and the state has to start advertising heavily just to sell out the inventory.  Don't sell a milllion tickets if you can't sell a million tickets in a few weeks.
              • Always hold the drawing on a fixed date, don't change the date.  If you feel that the date needs to be changed because the ticket stock is not sold out, then you weren't paying attention on the last point.
              • Always award all prizes.  Don't wimp out like California just did (sorry to pick on you California) and say you're going to award "between 5 and 10 million-dollar prizes".  That's horrible.  If you are not confident in your ability to sell out the game, then fire yourself.  People can easily sense when the lottery is being too "safe", and they start to question the game.  Does California really believe their game is good?  If so, why would they hedge their bets?  (And don't start throwing around that nonsense about being cautious with the public's money.)

              Anyone care to add to that list?  Feel differently?

              I agree wholeheartedly with Todd and Greg on all points.  The only thing the lotteries will listen to is revenue.  Airing our misgivings about a game on a large forum like this is probably somewhat effective as well.  Bottom line is don't play the game if you have any qualms about it.

              I'm surprised that lotteries are already trying to bastardize the raffle concept.  Looked like a cash cow to me. 

              Posted 4/6:  IL Pick 3 midday and evening until they hit:  555, 347 (str8).


                truecritic's avatar - PirateTreasure
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                Posted: January 21, 2007, 10:07 am - IP Logged

                I also agree with all points.  The only other thing I would add, is for States (like Michigan) that have State Income Tax to stop taxing the lottery winnings!  It used to be that way when they first started the lottery - no State Tax.

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                  Posted: January 21, 2007, 10:48 am - IP Logged

                  My 4 cents (price increase from 2 cents):

                  1) Computerization is done 1. to reduce staff and cost and 2. to try to make drawings as mathematically random as possible to ensure fairness. I DO NOT LIKE such games and I rarely if ever play them until/unless I come up with algorithms that can beat them. The Lottery should provide software or something that players can use the same RNG (perhaps installed in the terminals) which would still be fair but this way you're using the same thing to pick with and draw with. However I don't see a big "trend" here at least in this area. Raffle games can not be drawn using balls, it isn't practical.

                  2) The reason for the $2 increase is probably because there are so many smaller prizes. It all has to balance out so that the Lottery still gets 50cents of each $1 played.

                  3) The reason for lower prizes is people complaining they can't win ANYTHING and they quit games they have "no luck" with. Everyone wants to win but it's required a certain ratio of losers to make a few big winners. There are just too many people playing! They keep adding states like Texas and California so either they had to add more balls or there would never be the 100M+ jackpots. Now it's harder to win smaller prizes. You have to think of a game like Mega Millions as you're going for 5/6 or 6/6 but if not you'd be happy with matching the BB. I think though Mix&Match is too confusing for a lot of people and deceiving because you have less balls but for the jackpot they have to be IN POSITION which is I think a first for Jackpot games!

                  4) ALSO THE AMOUNT THE LOTTERY TAKES OUT IS LIKE 50 PERCENT so it's obscene that they ALSO tax your winnings!

                  5) If they increase the odds on the Millionaire games they need to offer more $500 or $1000 prizes or I'm not playing. $20 a ticket is steep as it is.

                  6) They had to add more balls because they added more States which meant millions more players.

                  REMEDIES?

                  The only remedy is educating people about the games they like to play. The vast majority of players don't use elaborate systems or backtesting. If people know a game is a ripoff they won't play it and it will go the way of L4L. I only play games I think I can win over time OR where the jackpot would change my life in a big way. It's a tough battle when you have to win more than twice as often as average in order to make a profit. I am guessing that is many (responsible) people's reason they play; because they want to walk away with more money than they put in.

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                    Posted: January 21, 2007, 3:57 pm - IP Logged

                    I believe one of the main reasons that the lower-tier prizes are smaller is that all the lower-tier prizes come directly from the state lottery that the ticket was sold in. 

                    Powerball is sold in lots of states with small populations, so if they started paying large amounts for the lower prizes, those states would suffer, because they don't have the financial reserve of the larger states.

                    If Chuck32 is reading this, maybe he could correct anything I'm saying here, or there may be some other reasons.  (Like I'm sure larger prizes at the lower end would make the jackpot grow slower.)

                    Payouts will vary from week to week, but in the long run it's a pretty safe bet that the payouts will come pretty close to the 50% predicted by probability. It's an even safer bet that the  prizes that have a higher probability will  consistently come closer to what is predicted by probability and have smaller fluctuations than the big prizes.  If thepossible payout was risky for small states it's the  $200,000 prize with  the possibility of  paying a powerplay of 5 that they wouldn't offer, but if there are an unusually large number of winners the lottery always has the option of paying on a pari-mutuel basis, so their 50% profit isn't  subject to much risk.

                    The main reason for small lower tier prizes is so more money can go to the jackpot. The lower tier prizes pay the some amount week after week, but ticket sales vary with the size of the jackpot. I don't know if they're really got reliable information on  how many tickest they'd sell for different payout schedules, but I'm guessing they think they have it about right. The sales for an advertised jackpot  in the 300 million range can be  ten times what's sold on the first few rolls. There's not a chance that doubling or even tripling the samll prizes would result in selling 10 tiems as many tickets, but it would pretty much guarantee that we'd never see a $300 milion jackpot again, and that means the lottery wouldn't see those huge ticket sales.

                      Todd's avatar - Cylon 2.gif
                      Chief Bottle Washer
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                      Posted: January 21, 2007, 4:59 pm - IP Logged

                      My 4 cents (price increase from 2 cents):

                      1) Computerization is done 1. to reduce staff and cost and 2. to try to make drawings as mathematically random as possible to ensure fairness. I DO NOT LIKE such games and I rarely if ever play them until/unless I come up with algorithms that can beat them. The Lottery should provide software or something that players can use the same RNG (perhaps installed in the terminals) which would still be fair but this way you're using the same thing to pick with and draw with. However I don't see a big "trend" here at least in this area. Raffle games can not be drawn using balls, it isn't practical.

                      2) The reason for the $2 increase is probably because there are so many smaller prizes. It all has to balance out so that the Lottery still gets 50cents of each $1 played.

                      3) The reason for lower prizes is people complaining they can't win ANYTHING and they quit games they have "no luck" with. Everyone wants to win but it's required a certain ratio of losers to make a few big winners. There are just too many people playing! They keep adding states like Texas and California so either they had to add more balls or there would never be the 100M+ jackpots. Now it's harder to win smaller prizes. You have to think of a game like Mega Millions as you're going for 5/6 or 6/6 but if not you'd be happy with matching the BB. I think though Mix&Match is too confusing for a lot of people and deceiving because you have less balls but for the jackpot they have to be IN POSITION which is I think a first for Jackpot games!

                      4) ALSO THE AMOUNT THE LOTTERY TAKES OUT IS LIKE 50 PERCENT so it's obscene that they ALSO tax your winnings!

                      5) If they increase the odds on the Millionaire games they need to offer more $500 or $1000 prizes or I'm not playing. $20 a ticket is steep as it is.

                      6) They had to add more balls because they added more States which meant millions more players.

                      REMEDIES?

                      The only remedy is educating people about the games they like to play. The vast majority of players don't use elaborate systems or backtesting. If people know a game is a ripoff they won't play it and it will go the way of L4L. I only play games I think I can win over time OR where the jackpot would change my life in a big way. It's a tough battle when you have to win more than twice as often as average in order to make a profit. I am guessing that is many (responsible) people's reason they play; because they want to walk away with more money than they put in.

                      Just on your computerized comments (point #1):

                      I think they are told by these computerized companies that it is much cheaper, but the REALITY of the situation is that there is little cost difference.  The impact on the bottom line is negligible.

                      However, that is just the expenditure side of the equation.  Any good financial analyst will tell you to look on the other side of the equation too -- the revenue side.

                      It has been shown in the past that the computerized states generally do NOT do as well as the states with traditional lottery ball equipment.  There is a certain segment of the population that prefers to have complete transparency in the drawing process (or as close to it as possible), and those people say it with their wallets.

                      So the bottom line is a negative.  It does NOT save money.

                      Your other point about looking for a way to be "more random" I completely disagree with.  If they wanted to be as random as possible, they would stick with traditional drawing machines.  There is not one lottery director in America who would say (with honesty) that they would switch to a computerized drawing to make the numbers "more random".

                      BTW, I agree with all of those who are against state taxes on winnings.  That's why people need to fight so hard for the things that are important to them, and not take a passive position when something bad is proposed.  DO SOMETHING.

                      Once a tax (or anything else bad) gets put in place, it is nearly impossible to get it removed.  So don't let it happen in the first place!

                       

                      Check the State Lottery Report Card
                      What grade did your lottery earn?

                       

                      Sign the Petition for True Lottery Drawings
                      Help eliminate computerized drawings!

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                        Alabama
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                        Posted: January 22, 2007, 2:18 pm - IP Logged

                        Todd wrote:

                      • Like you mentioned, the odds are going to start creeping up, as the lottery directors start getting more greedy about profitting on the game.  People should avoid buying games where the odds are too high.  Can anyone recommend a "sweet spot"?
                      •  

                        I agree with all of your points, Todd.  For me, the "sweet spot" is a ticket pool of 500,000; just like Georgia did with their New Years Eve Millionaire Raffle.  If GLC does a raffle again and if they increase the ticket pool above this level, I won't play.

                        IMHO, GLC had a reasonable number of prizes for their raffle but I'd like to see them add at least 250 $100 prizes (or perhaps 500  $50 prizes).  That's only an extra $25k and wouldn't hurt their bottom line at all.  After prize payout, they made an easy $5M on this one.

                        While I was buying raffle tickets, I continued to play Fantasy 5 and Mega Millions at about the same level I usually do.  I wonder how many other folks continued to buy tickets for the lottery games they usually play while buying raffle tickets.  If the Lottery Corporations were smart, they'd see raffles as a supplementary game (offerred 2 to 3 times a year) and keep the odds reasonable.  If I had won one of the $1000 (or greater) prizes, part of that money would have gone back into playing F5 and MM.

                         

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                          Alabama
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                          Posted: January 22, 2007, 2:22 pm - IP Logged

                          BTW Greg,  excellent thread.  Thanks for posting it!

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                            Posted: January 22, 2007, 10:23 pm - IP Logged

                            BTW Greg,  excellent thread.  Thanks for posting it!

                            My thanks to you, Mr. Bobb, and Todd, for your complements.

                              dvdiva's avatar - 8ball

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                              Posted: January 23, 2007, 9:52 pm - IP Logged

                              1. Is a problem. WA.OR and BC are now computerized even though most players are against it.

                              2. I hope MM goes to $2/ticket. Might actually have a real jackpot for a change. The dollar isn't worth what it once was.

                              3. Providing more money can go to the jackpot and not the state I have no problem with a lower prize level. I'm playing for the jackpot anyways.

                              4.This is america. Get used to the government not having the intelligence to make state lotteries tax free, like Canada, Europe, Australia, and everywhere else in the world.

                              5. Another reason to not buy raffle tickets then. Sounds like you don't like jackpot style games anyways.

                              6. Jackpot games increase their matrix so the prize goes up to a level that promotes more sales. If you don't like high odds then you would be in favor of a higher price but you don't like that either. I'd just stick with pick 3/4 then if I were you.

                              If you don't like jackpot games then stop posting in this forum and stick with pick 3/4. I don't post how low the prizes are for those games in those forums. If anything Megamillions needs either higher odds or a $2 ticket price. Currently the game is a joke and I haven't bought tickets since Febuary of last year.

                              In fact since WA state joined MM I have only bought $20 in tickets since the prize has been low almost the entire time. If Powerball rolls then you can feel free to boycott it but I'm getting tickets.