For this week’s draws on 17 and 18 January 2023, the South African Powerball jackpot is estimated to be R11 million, and the Lotto jackpot is estimated to be R3 million. And at a cost of R5 per lotto ticket, why not? You could end up winning the jackpot; in fact, your numbers are looking lucky.
The odds of winning the jackpot are astronomical; according to research that dates back to 2015, the odds of winning the lottery are 1 in 20,358,520, and since then, the odds have become much worse.
So why do millions of people continue to play week after week with the highest level of certainty of winning?
The “availability bias” could be why people continue to purchase lottery tickets. We tend to rely on external information that is readily available when making decisions. The lottery organisers know this and use this “bias” when promoting the big jackpots and heavily focusing on past winners’ stories, making us think the probability of winning is much higher than it actually is.
Here is a list of highly improbable events that could happen to you, all of which are more likely than winning the lotto according to Gamban.com:
- Your probability of living to the ripe old age of 100 is one in four.
- You have a better chance of wishing on a four-leaf clover, with a one in 10,000 probability of finding one.
- The odds of dying from a wasp or bee sting are one in 54,093.
- The probability of dying from a snake bite is one in 100,000.
- Watch out! Your chances of being hit by a meteor are one in 700,000; on average, one meteor falls to earth each year.
- You could be struck by lightning before winning the lottery, with a probability of one in 10,000,000.
- Don’t stress; go have that swim in the ocean. The chance of being attacked by a shark is very low—one in 11,500,000.
- You have a one in 15,000,000 chance of having identical quadruplets.
I’m sure that your enthusiasm for playing the lottery has dwindled after reading the true odds of winning, and to the optimistic, “may the odds be ever in your favour.”