Extra Credits: Why do people prefer lotteries with worse odds?

In the begging of 2016 largest US lottery Powerball decreased the odds of winning the jackpot to around 1 in 300 million. What is interesting in this development is that it was done to attract more players and thus increase the profitability of the lottery. Intuition would suggest that any rational individual should quit playing the lottery, but what will real people do?

The main catch in these lotteries is that the jackpot is carried over to the next game until it is won by somebody. Thus smaller odds of winning the jackpot imply that the jackpot will have more time to "grow". Namely there will be more consecutive games with jackpot left intact, thus the jackpots will become larger. The data shows that the larger the jackpot the more people will buy lottery tickets. Thus in the long run this strategy should attract more people to play the lottery. Consequently, in the long run, the profitability of the lottery should increase.

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