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Better odds make a bettor bet

March 05, 2007

Re "After three flush years, lottery sees a downturn," March 1

I was a little surprised to read that California Lottery sales are down because of a lack of huge jackpots. I have always thought that having 1,000 people winning $1,000 was preferable to one person winning $1 million; if 1,000 people won $1,000, each would be happy. Is there not more utility in that scenario, compared to one person being really, really happy?

CHARLES MCCLURE

Santa Barbara

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It's difficult to hit even one or two numbers. Lottery participants, particularly those who can really afford to play, have become disillusioned because of the low payout for tickets with fewer than five numbers. Perhaps their attitude is, why should I play when the huge payouts go to one or a few people? Hiring consultants is not the answer. Broadening the prize bell curve to allow higher payouts for holders of tickets with one to four numbers would reverse the downturn.

ROSS GENTRY

Santa Monica

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