Powerball lottery – and the Islamic view

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Source: LA Times

How the Powerball rules were tweaked to make the game an even bigger ripoff

Powerball fever has gripped the country, as one might expect with a jackpot of $1.5 billion at stake in Wednesday’s drawing.

Newspapers, online sites, and TV broadcasts are brimming with reports of massive sales and hopeful players — The Times website, latimes.com, has run 18 posts about the lottery just since Jan. 10, when the last drawing failed to produce a winner and drove the jackpot to this record level. Powerball officials in the 44 states that participate in the game are quoted expressing astonishment at the size of the jackpot and the nationwide frenzy it has induced.

That last bit is the cynical one. Powerball officials can’t be surprised; they changed the rules last July precisely to produce this outcome — a huge pot, and a stampede of buyers.

The tweak was simple, but deliberate. For each $2 entry, players select five “white” numbers and a single “red” number. At each drawing, five numbered white balls and a red ball are picked. Match all the whites and the red, and you’ve won the jackpot. Match only the whites, and you’ve won the much smaller second prize; only the red, and you’ve won $4, which you’re likely to convert into another pair of tickets.

The rules change increased the white numbers to 69 from 59 and decreased the red number to 26 from 35. The effect was to decrease the chance of winning the jackpot from 1 in 175.2 million to 1 in 292.2 million. The chance of winning that $4 in chump change was increased to 1 in 92 from 1 in 111.

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Suggested Reading

Gambling: A Correlation between the Holy Quran and Science

Categories: Addiction, gambling

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