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Big Game Odds Don't Discourage Dreamers

16 April 2002

ATLANTA, Georgia – As reported by the Associated Press: "Consider the morbid math: A dreamer playing the $325 million Big Game lottery is 16 times more likely to be killed driving to the gas station to buy a ticket than to win the jackpot.

"But the near-impossible chances have failed to deter thousands of frenzied lottery players rushing to snap up tickets for Tuesday's seven-state drawing.

"The odds of winning are 1 in 76 million.

"`It's greed. Greed clouds good judgment,' said Les Krantz, a probability expert who was busy Monday calculating dozens of comparisons to show just how unlikely winning is — but who was holding a ticket himself.

"…`If you don't have a ticket, your odds drop to zero,' reasoned Glenn Gosselin, who bought a ticket at Neighborhood Food Store in Springfield, Mass., where the Big Game line wound from the cash register to the door.

"…By the drawing Tuesday night, the prize could swell past the U.S. record of $363 million, split by two Big Game winners in 2000.

"A single winner could take the cash over 26 years or accept a one-time $174 million payout — with at least one-third taken out for taxes, of course.

"…`They just see this impossibly huge amount of money out there, not the impossibly long odds against them,' said W. Scott Wood, who teaches a class at Drake University on the psychology of gambling. `They're purchasing a daydream.'

"…More perspective: A person's chance of being hit by lightning in a lifetime is 1 in 9,100 — more than 8,000 times more likely than being the next Big Game winner, Krantz said…"

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