Monday, 31 July 2017

Chances of winning a lottery

There are hundreds of lotteries around the world and millions of people purchase lottery tickets in hopes that their dreams of being rich will come true.

They envision living in luxurious homes and sailing in huge yachts and driving very expensive cars.  Of course, very few of the ticket- holders ever win the prizes.

There are lucky ticket-holders, and then there's Jules Parent. For the second time in nine years, the 69-year-old Quebec retiree had won  more than two  million Canadian dollars playing the lottery.

He showed up at lottery offices to pick up a check for $1,222,069 after winning the jackpot from an online lottery in which he paid  $3.20 for the ticket. Parent also won a million dollars in 2008. Loto-Quebec places the odds of such events at about one in twenty-three million.

The first many winners of the world's biggest lottery payoff in Spain had begun to emerge as they shared a prize equivalent to 2 billion and 56 million US dollars in its pot of cash to be divided among thousands of Spanish ticketholders.

Neighbourhoods in towns and cities across Spain erupted with Champagne-soaked scenes of joy as it dawned on that year's lucky winners that they had scooped the first prize of Spain's 'El Gordo' (The Fat One) Christmas lottery. Unlike lotteries that offer one large jackpot, Spain's yuletide drawing sprinkles a variety of winnings on thousands of ticketholders. The United States also has powerball lotteries in many if not all States.

Powerball mania reached a fever pitch on January 13th 2016 with at least three winning tickets having been sold in the largest jackpot in U.S. history. The lucky overnight mutli-millionaires split a whopping $1,586,400,000, blowing the previous record of $656 million out of sight. That means that that each of the winners received over 526 million dollars each.

Many other Americans have each won millions of dollars in these powerball lotteries.

A man who lived in Rosemead California purchased the winning $1 million Powerball ticket at a supermarket in Rosemead lost his ticket, according to California Lottery officials. His ticket was worth $1,098,624, Lottery officials released the surveillance video of the mystery man purchasing the winning ticket, hoping to find him. The man saw himself on the news and came forward, but without the ticket, so he was out of luck. The deadline then passed. His prize money was then transferred to public schools in California. 

In China, a man who was identified only by the family name Zhang, sold his baby boy for 9,000 yuan, the equivalent of about $1,350 to buy lottery tickets because he had dreams of becoming rich overnight. The headline of the Beijing Daily Messenger was;  "Evil father sold his own son to buy lottery tickets.” The Fugou County Court in central China's Henan province sentenced him to 10 years in jail and fined him 5,000 yuan.There was no word on the fate of his infant son.

Alas, Canada does not have powerball lotteries. The largest winning ticket was worth 60 million dollars.

Many years ago, an unmarried man in Hamilton, Ontario decided to sell his house. In those days, his house was worth eighty-thousand dollars. Two weeks later, he sold his house for sixty-five thousand dollars. He was willing to sell his house for less than it was worth because he wanted to use most of the money to buy lottery tickets.

It was his intention to set aside fifteen thousand dollars to live on and spend the remaining fifty-thousand dollars on purchasing lottery tickets.

He knew that his chances of winning was extremely slim and that it was possible that no one would have the winning ticket—not even him. He calculated in his mind as to what the chances were of anyone actually having the winning ticket. If five thousand people who had bought a lottery ticket were standing in a football field, it would take as many fifty football fields in which one of those persons who purchased a ticket would have the winning ticket.  

In the middle of a week two weeks later, the winning ticket of a lottery had reached fifty million dollars. He had two days to buy as many tickets as he could buy. They were five dollars each. At the end of those two days, he had purchased as many as thirteen thousand tickets. The next day it was announced that the winning ticket was worth as much as fifty-five million dollars.

As the days and months passed, no one had made a claim for the prize. The man figured that it was possible that the winning ticket was one of the tickets he purchased.

For three months, he spent eight hours every day in his rented room, looking for the winning ticket. He read each group of numbers on each ticket very carefully. If he had the winning ticket, he had only a year to make the claim.

Now I have a question for you. Was the man stupid to sell his house to buy thirteen thousand tickets in hopes that he would have the winning ticket?         

Tomorrow, I will tell you what he really won.        

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