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Professor weighs in on impulse to buy lottery tickets

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

With the Powerball jackpot at a record-high of $500 million, people across the county have lined up to buy their ticket for a chance to cash in on the big prize. Unfortunately, the chances of winning are 1 in 175 million.

Paul Johnson, associate director of the Center for Research Methods and Data Analysis and professor of political science at the University of Kansas, analyzed the odds and the cultural phenomenon of playing the lottery.

“If you’re completely cold and logical about it, you know that your chance of winning is so small that it doesn’t justify the investment,” he said.

But he understands this isn’t about logic, reason or math.

“People are playing the lottery not because they expect to win the prize, but for the excitement or the feeling of expectation that they might win,” he said.

Read the rest of the story from the Kansas City Star here.