Winning the World since 1981


Posted by: Steve Player on Saturday, December 14, 2013 at 10:29:00 am

    As of the wee hours in the morning of Saturday, December 14th, the MEGA MILLIONS Jackpot now stands at $550 Million. As I predicted, there was no Jackpot winner on Friday night. The changes that were recently made to the MEGA MILLIONS game increasing the odds to 258 Million to 1 were designed to keep people from winning the lower Jackpots in order to set new records. This is pure marketing and it is working very nicely as we can see with 21 straight draws with no winner since the game was changed. There were over 167 million tickets sold for last nights drawing...that's about 50 cents for every man, woman and child in the United States. Just imagine how many hungry and homeless people could have had a hot meal with that much money on the table; but that's a whole other story!


    So where is this heading? In an early Saturday morning interview, Paula Otto, the lead director of the Mega Millions Lottery Commission expects that the Jackpot for Tuesdays drawing will probably rise to, or surpass, the current $656 Million record. She was quoted as saying "If we keep rolling, we could well be at a Billion dollars going into Christmas." I hate to say I TOLD YOU SO, but, I TOLD YOU SO. Referring to the recent change from 56 to 75 numbers in the Mega Millions game, Lottery Director Otto went on to say: "How wonderful that the changes seem to be working immediately to get us bigger Jackpots." So there you have it, right from the horses mouth! With absolutely no regard for the players, this game was changed for the sole purpose of getting bigger Jackpots and winning the race to the $1 Billion mark against the Powerball game. 


    As I have told you before, the State Lottery games are designed to make money, lot's of money, for the various States that offer them. In the case of the multi-State powerhouse games like Mega Millions, there is a boatload of revenue to be pulled in from the players and the Lottery Commission is not at all bashful about raking in as much cash as they can. Make no mistake, this is a for profit (tax revenue) business run by the various State governments. In just the last three days, they made a profit of almost $80 Million with the new Mega Millions game, and that profit will only get even larger through ticket sales for the upcoming Tuesday night drawing. 


    Now don't get me wrong, the game itself is totally on the up and up. The actual number drawings are fair and there is no one manipulating the outcome. We all know how high the astronomical odds of winning are, yet tens of millions of players are more than happy to lay down their money for a chance to win hundreds of millions of dollars. This game has become a major Cash Cow for the States involved, but make no mistake about it, this is in fact actually just a voluntary tax. No matter how many people win, the States keep roughly half of the money that is wagered and collected for each drawing.


    So what happens now? The higher the Jackpot grows, the more people will play. The more people that play, the greater the chances are that someone will actually win. For last Fridays drawing there was roughly a 53% theorectically ideal chance that someone would win the Jackpot, and as you know, no one did. For next Tuesdays drawing I would expect that the theoretically ideal chances that the Jackpot is won will increase to close to 80%. But there are a lot of other factors involved that make this theoretically ideal outcome insignificant. If 258 million people each buy a ticket, that does not guiarantee that someone will win the jackpot. In fact, there will be so many duplicate sets of numbers played that the actual real world odds of someone walking away with the winning ticket would be closer to 55%. Based on my calculations, we will not see a winner on Tuesday and the Jackpot will in fact reach $1 Billion dollars for the Friday December 20th drawing, at which point it will most likely be won.


    We are in fact watching history be made right now, but please understand, this was not by random chance but rather by design. Increasing the number of balls in the Mega Millions game was a calculated move by the Mega Millions Lottery Commission to first and foremost increase their revenue stream, and second, to be the first to reach the $1 Billion Jackpot mark which carries a high value in bragging rights and marketing power. So here is the bottom line from where I sit: You may think that you are playing the game, but in my opinion, it is us, the players, who are being played. The odds of winning this game are just plain rediculously high, however, there will most certainly be a winner at some point. So, if you like, go ahead and lay down a buck or two for a chance to be a billionaire. All I ask is that you only wager money that you can afford to lose and that you understand what a longshot winning the Mega Millions game really is.


    As for me, I will continue to boycott this game for the simple reason that I play the Lottery to win, and I have a much better chance of winning and making a consistent profit when I play the other games like Pick-3 or Pick-4, or the reasonable odds Pick-5 and Pick-6 games which are widely available. If you would like to read my previous Blog about the real story behind the Mega Millions game then please click on this link:


GOOD LUCK...Steve Player