Two Plus Two Forums

08-03-2011 , 06:10 PM
OK, inspired by several stories of people winning big in +EV lottery situations, I'm going to start my own thread focusing on the Michigan lottery.

The Michigan lottery has tons of scratch-off games that are usually hugely -EV. However, the state's lottery website tracks the number of winning tickets that are as of yet unclaimed here: http://milottery.state.mi.us/msl-ig-trigps.php

Based on these numbers, it looks to me like the current #1 +EV MI scratch-off ticket to play is "Classic Black" (as of 8/3/11).

The prizes remaining for that game:

2 \$500,000
3 \$1,000
58 \$200
104 \$100
240 \$75
228 \$60
632 \$50
856 \$40
4,170 \$30
4,944 \$20
7,357 \$15
14,569 \$10

Now, if my math is correct (and I'd love for anyone so inclined to check it), there are currently 33,163 unclaimed prizes for this game. Since that second link above says that overall odds of winning are 1 in 2.74, I believe I can just multiply that amount by 2.74 to estimate that there are about 90,867 tickets yet to be purchased in this game (that's correct, right?).

The game costs \$10, so buying up all of the rest of the tickets would cost \$908,670. The total value of the unclaimed 33,163 prizes is \$1,602,545.

Therefore each \$10 ticket, according to these stats, has an EV of \$17.64.

Obviously our concern would be that someone has hit a \$500K jackpot but hasn't claimed the prize yet. Taxes would also need to be factored in for anyone planning to try to buy their way to a big prize. Other than that, am I logically missing something here, or is this really a pretty hugely +EV value?
08-03-2011 , 07:37 PM
as always in theory this would be. 1. It probably takes a little time for the website to update so there are many prizes that are already gone. 2. How do you find all the tickets? 3. In the time it would take you to get to all the gas stations, casinos, super markets and anywhere else there is a self serve lotto machine how many more tickets will be sold before you get to them. Of course this also means people will be buying losing tickets so possibly it could actually help you.

Good luck if you attempt this. I think a TR of this sort would be mandatory.
08-03-2011 , 09:20 PM
Plan isn't to buy all the tickets necessarily

Just that it's +EV so worth it to buy a bunch
08-03-2011 , 10:08 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by THAKID
Plan isn't to buy all the tickets necessarily

Just that it's +EV so worth it to buy a bunch
then in that case IMO it is better to play now than at the onset of the game.
08-03-2011 , 11:02 PM
This is pretty cool that you found an edge. Problem is how unlikely it is to actually earn that edge. Im not sure if you have heard of kelly criterion, but using that I calculated you need a bankroll of close to a million for buying even one ticket to be the best bankroll decision.

obviously buy more if you want to have some fun but I wouldnt be spending thousands on this.
08-03-2011 , 11:15 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by Barbiaux
then in that case IMO it is better to play now than at the onset of the game.
Lol that is the point of this thread

08-04-2011 , 02:41 AM
Are the top prizes paid as annuities?
08-04-2011 , 02:45 AM
Ya taxes and annuity 2 major hits

And from a practical standpoint it sucks that it's so top heavy
08-04-2011 , 11:13 AM
That site updates daily. Another 245 prizes claimed for that game with no big prizes gone; just an estimated 90,195 tickets left instead of 90,867. Checked a few stores and they all say they ran out of the game a month or so ago. Will buy any tickets I find for that game but won't yet go calling/traveling around the state to buy them up. (Don't have the bankroll to do that anyway.) If it gets down to 30K-40K tickets left, I have to get even more serious about buying as many as possible IMO.
08-04-2011 , 11:34 AM
This is actually a pretty cool thread. Keep it up. I live in Michigan and play scratch offs a few times per week. The website does update daily and I always look at the website before I go simply to see if the top for thew game is still left. If not, I will not buy it.

Now obviously I realize that the odds of hitting the top prize are barely worth my time checking the website, but hey, what the hell.
08-05-2011 , 08:00 AM
Now just 32,658 prizes left in that game, meaning there are ~89,483 tickets left worth almost 1.6 million. The EV of each remaining \$10 ticket is creeping up near \$18.
08-05-2011 , 09:57 AM
Can you take the top prize as a lump sum? how much is that?
08-05-2011 , 11:23 AM
It's a lump sum of \$500K, however:

Prizes over \$5,000: For any Michigan Lottery prize over \$5,000, the Lottery is generally required to withhold an estimated 25 percent in federal tax and 4.35 percent in state tax.
08-05-2011 , 02:17 PM
The odds of winning changes as the tickets are sold, so you can't use the original number in your calculation.
08-05-2011 , 02:49 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by jmark
The odds of winning changes as the tickets are sold, so you can't use the original number in your calculation.
It seems to me that it would remain quite accurate until only a small number of tickets are left.
08-05-2011 , 05:29 PM
Sure, but you've estimated that about 1400 tickets were sold in the last day or so. The game started in February. If we extrapolate back then about 250,000 tickets were originally for sale, so you're down to only 1/3 of the original tickets left. Though I guess you'd have to get pretty severe (odds of winning 1/5) to lose your profit.
08-05-2011 , 09:35 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by msufan
It's a lump sum of \$500K, however:

Prizes over \$5,000: For any Michigan Lottery prize over \$5,000, the Lottery is generally required to withhold an estimated 25 percent in federal tax and 4.35 percent in state tax.
How much withheld isn't the issue

After you file how much is the lump some worth after taxes
(amount withheld will most likely be close.... But you can use other gamblingnlosses etc.)
08-06-2011 , 09:08 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by jmark
Sure, but you've estimated that about 1400 tickets were sold in the last day or so. The game started in February. If we extrapolate back then about 250,000 tickets were originally for sale, so you're down to only 1/3 of the original tickets left. Though I guess you'd have to get pretty severe (odds of winning 1/5) to lose your profit.
There started with far more than 250K tickets to this game. Most stores have sold out of this game, and the rate of sales has slowed dramatically.

Today: still all of the major prizes are out there. 32,398 prizes left, so approx. 88,770 tickets out there. Buying them all would cost \$887,700 to win the total remaining prizes of \$1,589,170.

Current EV per remaining \$10 ticket: \$17.90.
08-06-2011 , 01:03 PM
Adjust all prize numbers for taxes then solve for EV
08-08-2011 , 05:41 PM
It looks as if the site does not list the amount of "ticket" winners left. The numbers may be significant and I think your odds are based on winning any prize. In california the odds of winning cash ar close to 1:6 and any 1:3. This could mean that 40% more tickets remain on the cash odds size as well as many many thousands more may exist on the fact that thousands of ticket winners remain. Plus, there could be a non-normal distibution in the -EV direction if many of the tickets went unsold. Remember that you only assume how many tickets remain and there could be significantly different amounts remaining based on statistical distributions, odds of winning (cash or "tickets") and the absense of "ticket" wins left.
08-08-2011 , 10:14 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by lamarius
It looks as if the site does not list the amount of "ticket" winners left. The numbers may be significant and I think your odds are based on winning any prize. In california the odds of winning cash ar close to 1:6 and any 1:3. This could mean that 40% more tickets remain on the cash odds size as well as many many thousands more may exist on the fact that thousands of ticket winners remain. Plus, there could be a non-normal distibution in the -EV direction if many of the tickets went unsold. Remember that you only assume how many tickets remain and there could be significantly different amounts remaining based on statistical distributions, odds of winning (cash or "tickets") and the absense of "ticket" wins left.
I think what you're calling ticket winners are listed as \$10 wins on http://milottery.state.mi.us/msl-ig-trigps.php. (Since that's the price of the ticket.)

There could just as easily be a non-normal distribution in the +EV direction as in the -EV direction, and with over 30K prizes left, that's still a pretty solid number from which to make an estimate.
08-08-2011 , 11:25 PM
not meaning to be results oriented but I am just curious. Have you purchased any of these tickets? If so how did it go for you?
08-08-2011 , 11:34 PM
I was poking around the PA lottery site and saw that they only tell you the top 3 prizes left for each game. I guess they don't want people figuring out their ev.
08-09-2011 , 09:07 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by Barbiaux
not meaning to be results oriented but I am just curious. Have you purchased any of these tickets? If so how did it go for you?
I can't find any in my area... stores have sold out. If I see a store selling them I'll buy \$100-\$200 just for kicks. No bankroll to try to corner the market or anything. Although if things got good enough I might have to take a bigger shot.

As of today, the prizes left are:

2 \$500,000
3 \$1,000
56 \$200
101 \$100
234 \$75
212 \$60
608 \$50
814 \$40
4,028 \$30
4,723 \$20
7,051 \$15
13,920 \$10

So that would be 31,752 prizes remaining. 1 ticket in 2.74 is a winner, so there are an estimated 87,000 tickets remaining. Those tickets cost \$870,000 in all for a total winnings of \$1,577,795.

The EV for each \$10 ticket is now \$18.14.
08-10-2011 , 07:37 AM
U know even without hitting the jackpot it's not like your getting crushed

m