Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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The Big Lottery Give Away

Salve Your Conscience At No Extra Risk
  [vote for,

National Lotteries work by having loads of people buy tickets with a random(ish) selection of numbers on them and then, at the end of the week, another random(ish) selection of numbers is made in public and anyone who can match their random numbers with the selected random numbers gets a share of the cash pool.

My idea is to add another layer of complication to this simple process which seemingly makes you into a more philanthropic person but actually does no such thing at all.

So, when you buy your ticket it not only has your selection of numbers printed on it but also an additional serial number. Once entries to the lottery are closed for the week, every selection of random numbers that has been chosen is tagged against a random ticket serial number. Then, when the lottery numbers are drawn, it is not the people who hold a ticket with the same random number selection on it that win, but the people who hold the tickets with a serial number that has been associated with that random number selection that win. In effect, you get the illusion that your number choice has enabled somebody else to become rich whilst your own odds of getting rich remain exactly the same...negligible.
DrBob, Nov 05 2010


       Wow! Almost no interest at all. Looks like I picked the wrong day to give up glue sniffing!

DrBob, Nov 09 2010

       It's always the wrong day to give up glue sniffing.   

       I think the psychology of this idea is not going to work, although logically it should, of course.   

       [+] because it starts some interesting thoughts.
MaxwellBuchanan, Nov 09 2010

       Mmm...glue vapors.
Boomershine, Nov 09 2010

       //[+] because it starts some interesting thoughts.//   

       I think that's the glue kicking in, [Max].
Boomershine, Nov 10 2010

       Well the psychology of it all is quite interesting isn't it, Max.

If you pick your own numbers in the Lottery and they come up trumps then there is an illusion of control. They are your numbers so your contribution appears to be critical to the outcome. Whereas, in fact, the only contribution you really made was to buy a ticket.

Contrast this with Premium Bonds, for instance, where you just pay over your money, get a random number in exchange and then sit back and wait to see if you won.

The kicker is that, with the Lottery, you are actually giving away a sizeable chunk of your stake money to 'good causes' (whatever that might mean) but with Premium Bonds you get your stake money back at the end.

I think that there's a degree thesis in this somewhere!
DrBob, Nov 10 2010

       It would be interesting to look at the psychology of this, I agree. My hypothsis is that people get very attached to certain numbers and to the numbers that they have personally chosen. So, if you chose your lottery numbers but it was a standard feature of the lottery that all numbers would get 1 added to them, then people would still get very upset when their original numbers won. This would be the case even though the transformation (x+1) was applied to all numbers and well-publicised.
hippo, Nov 10 2010

       bun for glue vapours and hardcore gambling
Voice, Nov 10 2010

       No doubt, I'm missing something in this idea. But, I think outside of the HalfBakery, it's a snoozer. [Dr Bob] suggests people might enjoy the illusion of enabling someone else to win. [hippo] predicts that people would get upset by the same thing. I think the effects essentially cancel. Net gain zero. [ ]
Boomershine, Nov 10 2010

       //outside of the HalfBakery, it's a snoozer//

Inside as well, apparently!
DrBob, Nov 10 2010


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