Friday, February 03, 2006

Never Tell Me The Odds

Tonight is the record breaking £125,000,000 EuroMillions jackpot draw (though, announced this week, the profits of Shell Oil are actually 104 times higher). This is the largest single lottery payout ever.

Dex, at work, has sorted out a syndicate thing (you've got to be in it not to be royally miffed-off if they win it) and for £1.50 a ticket I'd be mental not to.

I did some maths. At £1.50 a ticket, you'd need £115,000,000 to cover all numeric ticket combinations (and too much time on your hands) and your potential winnings would be £85,000,000 for your investment (should you be the only winner). Even at today's monkey rates of interest, that £125,000,000 top prize would bring you in a relatively comfortable £31,000 a month.

Putting this in context, a single Euromillions winner would become the 440th richest person in Britain and the chances of scooping this jackpot is an impressive 76,275,360 to 1 (the normal bog standard Lotto is a measly 13,984,816 to 1 by comparison).

These are the same chances as of a complete stranger walking up to you in the street and telling you your phone number (unless, of course, that stranger happens to be Darren Brown). It's like pulling a single unique card out of a stack of playing cards some 15 miles high (unless, of course, you’re Sam Emmott).

Bear in mind, that the chances of anything coming from Mars, are 1,000,000 to 1 (they said) and the possibility of successfully navigating an asteroid field is (approximately) 3,720 to 1.

I normally just consider this some kind of idiot/poor tax. Muse, if you will, upon the average Lotto lottery. Consider the notion that this whole thing was reversed, and that you were guaranteed to win this £10,000,000 so long as all six of your numbers did not come up. If, however, your six numbers did come up then you'd be chemically castrated and rodgered by lunatics for the rest of your natural days. Would you still buy a ticket? Yeah, of course you would, because the chance of ending up Joeys neutered bitch is so mind-bogglingly remote that it'd be well worth the risk. This, to me, explains why you shouldn't be playing the lottery in the first place. I know, my logic is not necessarily like your earth logic, but do you see what I'm saying?

There’s also the little voice that says “Think what that kinda money could do for the less-well-off of this world”. A ‘little’ voice, I hasten to add. Not too load, and softly stifled by comfy pillows.

I suppose you can dream though, and these are the kind of odds and money that make you wonder. If I win, I will go to a health farm for a month, with the Mrs, and we can calmly decide what to do for the rest of our lives. I would imagine it would involve travel, being nice to mates, an army of simian ice cream thieves, and making fun movies.

Oh, and there may also be an investment involving lesbian triplets in bob wigs…

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