Nathan W. Bingham
Connecting in a Hyper-Connected World

Statistically, Playing the Lottery Could Kill You

Putting the debate aside as to whether Christians should gamble or not, here is an interesting application of statistics:

Suppose the state of California made its citizens the following offer: Of all those who pay the dollar or two to enter, most people will receive nothing, one person will receive a fortune, and one person will be put to death in a violent manner. Would anyone enrol in that game? People do, with enthusiasm. It is called the state lottery. And although the state does not advertise it in the manner in which I have described it, that is the way it works in practice. For while one lucky person wins the grand prize in each game, many millions of other contestants drive to and from their local ticket vendors to purchase their tickets, and some die in accidents along the way. Applying statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and depending on such assumptions as how far each individual drives, how many tickets he or she buys, and how many people are involved in a typical accident, you find that a reasonable estimate of those fatalities is about one death per game.

You can thank Eric Farkas for pointing me to the above post.