($100 of $1 lottery tickets)
Investment Idea: $100 invested in 100 $1 lottery tickets.
Total Investment: $100
Total Time Cost: 00:30:00
Extra Costs: None
Total Time Spent on Investment: 10 minutes spent online finding lottery ticket with the best odds. 5 minutes spent buying lottery tickets. 15 minutes spent scratching off all the tickets.
Research and Preparation: Gambling and the lottery have always held an enticing allure for a lot of people: the idea that you could spend just $1 and be rewarded in prizes that are worth exponentially more, and all it would take is a little bit of luck and all your problems would be over. I knew I wanted to try my luck on $1 lottery tickets because I thought it would be cool to buy 100 of them. I also knew that I could find the odds of winning online at http://nylottery.ny.gov/.
After comparing all of the odds for the $1 scratch off tickets I came to a couple of conclusions:
- There are twelve different $1 scratch off tickets available in New York
- The odds of winning ranges from a best of 1:4.64 (Instant Take 5)
- To a worst ratio of 1:5.09 (Happy Birthday Cupcakes)
(Never buy birthday themed tickets)
- The NY lottery website never refers to odds of winning, but instead calls it “Chances of Winning”
- The $1 scratch off ticket with the worst odds is the “Happy Birthday Cupcakes” ticket (1:5.09), ticket (1:5.09). Also, the other birthday themed ticket “Happy Birthday Presents”, with odds of 1:4.99, has the third worst odds of the batch. If you value your friends and give them lottery tickets for their birthdays please don’t buy them birthday themed tickets to help them increase their odds.
(Don’t buy these tickets either)
How I chose which lottery ticket to buy?
After seeing the spread of the odds and the possible prizes I decided to choose the $500 A Week For Life ticket. It’s overall odds of 1:4.84 wasn’t the best, but it put it in the better half. Also, its namesake price of $500 a week for life was the best possible grand prize out of all the $1 scratch off tickets. Winning $500 a week for life would have provided the greatest possible return for my $100 I can think of. Of course the odds of winning 1:7,938,000 but, “hey you never know.”
Some of the other odds for the $500 A Week For Life ticket:
|Prize||Odds of Winning||Expected Winning Tickets||Total Winning Amount|
|$1||1 in: 10.00||10||$10|
|$2||1 in: 15.15||6||$12|
|$4||1 in: 62.50||1||$6|
|$5||1 in: 125.00||0||$0|
|$10||1 in: 100.00||1||$10|
|Total||1 in: 4.84||18||$38|
To make the above table I took the total number of tickets (100) and divided by the odds. This left me with “Expected Winning Tickets”. If this number had a remainder, I rounded down since you can’t buy or win a partial ticket. Also, everyone loses when they gamble, so I wasn’t going to give myself the benefit of the doubt.
So it looks like I should have anywhere from 18 to 21 winning tickets, and win a prize amount of about $38 to $40, for a return of at least -60%.
With my ticket chosen and my research done I headed to my local bodega and asked if they had 100 of the $500 a Week For Life lottery tickets, just to check before I bought some. They did.
(Counting 100 lottery tickets)
(Checking all of the tickets)
(Stack of lotto tickets)
(Guess which pile is filled with winning tickets?)
Reason for Investment:
Everyday, millions of people in America play the lottery and hope for the best, but more often then not it is just them throwing their money away. But wouldn’t it be great if you could just on a whim plop down $1 and buy a ticket that changed your life? I decided it was worth it to try it a hundred times over and invest $100 in $1 lottery tickets.
Returns: $41. I actually came out ahead of what I had expected on this investment, but even that meant a massive loss of $59.
My Total Winnings Table:
|Prize Amount||Number of Winning Tickets||Total Winnings|
As you can see the predictions from my research were almost spot on.
(The big ticket winner was just $10)