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Computerized "Raffle" Games- What Are The True Odds?

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Clearwater, FL
United States
Member #68897
January 1, 2009
10 Posts
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Posted: July 4, 2010, 9:18 am - IP Logged

Since I'm 100% against any lottery drawing where the winning numbers are "randomly generated" by a computer (does everyone remember the Breeders' Cup Pick Six scandal?), I must say that I'm thrilled to see the Florida Lottery is still trying to move over one-third  of the 750,000 Firecracker Millionaire tickets, with just two days until the drawing.

Maybe people have finally figured out that the odds they advertise are nowhere near being correct. Mind you, they're better than scratch off tickets, but anyone with a brain knows that scratchoffs should be called "rip offs"- in fact I hear that Idaho pondered that term before settling on "peel offs" for their carnival-like games.

Florida advertises odds of 1/150,000 for its "raffle" (750,000 tickets divided by 5 top prizes). Where I have a problem with this is that were this a true raffle, with 750,000 paper tickets in a giant hopper, where 750,000 people had just one ticket each, with some little god-fearing child sticking its arm in and pulling a ticket out, wouldn't the odds of winning one of the five top prizes be 1/750,000? Or to better understand, once the first four winning numbers are "generated", there are still 749,996 tickets remaining, which means that- you guessed it- your odds are precisely, emphatically, 1/749996.

The other (even scarier) scenario is that once all 750,000 tickets are sold, they are "placed" (by The Computer) into five separate pools of 150,000 each, so that the lottery can report that it advertised the true odds. The problem there is that once the jackpot-winning number for your "pool" has been drawn, you have no chance of winning a top prize. Were this the case, the drawing would not be truly random, and again the Lottery has lied to us.

This is just another example of the out-of-control behavior of the Florida Lottery. They're making plenty of money already without putting a spin on these raffle games. Maybe people can't afford the tickets right now, or maybe they've wised up. Regardless, if you're entertaining thoughts of joining in on this "bonanza", go instead and spend that twenty bucks on a coupla ribeye steaks, fire up the grill for the 4th, and sit back and enjoy the lottery taking a bath for their irresponsible behavior.