Flashback Friday: Playing the Lottery on a Rainy Day Could Pay Off

By Seriously Science | January 12, 2018 7:00 am

Image: Flickr/Images Money

When it comes to playing the odds, there are times when gambling feels more enticing than others. But is there a pattern to when people indulge in games of luck and when they abstain? Well, according to this study, there is! Apparently, when other circumstances dictated by “luck” are going well, people are more likely to play the lottery. Specifically, they found that people are more likely to play the lottery during a long string of sunny days, or when a local sports team is playing well. So, if you don’t want to share the pile of money with another winning ticket, your best bet may be to play when the weather’s bad or the Yankees are losing.

Unexpected but Incidental Positive Outcomes Predict Real-World Gambling

“Positive mood can affect a person’s tendency to gamble, possibly because positive mood fosters unrealistic optimism. At the same time, unexpected positive outcomes, often called prediction errors, influence mood. However, a linkage between positive prediction errors—the difference between expected and obtained outcomes—and consequent risk taking has yet to be demonstrated. Using a large data set of New York City lottery gambling and a model inspired by computational accounts of reward learning, we found that people gamble more when incidental outcomes in the environment (e.g., local sporting events and sunshine) are better than expected. When local sports teams performed better than expected, or a sunny day followed a streak of cloudy days, residents gambled more. The observed relationship between prediction errors and gambling was ubiquitous across the city’s socioeconomically diverse neighborhoods and was specific to sports and weather events occurring locally in New York City. Our results suggest that unexpected but incidental positive outcomes influence risk taking.”

• http://www.mazepath.com/uncleal/qz4.htm Uncle Al

Lotteries are taxes upon the stupid. 50% comes right off the top as revenue. Take your winnings now, and you get a third of the half remaining, after taxes 17% net of input. The very worst Vegas slots pay 90%.

• OWilson

With the governments taking over gambling, drugs, booze, guns and even prostitution, not to mention, the protection racket (enforced insurance) guys like Al Capone would be hard pressed to make a living, these days!

• http://uklottoclub.co.uk Travis

You will lose a lot more money playing for 30 minutes at the tables in Vegas than you will by purchasing a lottery ticket at 7/11!

• http://uklottoclub.co.uk Travis

Huge jackpots are my incentive!

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Seriously, Science?, formerly known as NCBI ROFL, is the brainchild of two prone-to-distraction biologists. We highlight the funniest, oddest, and just plain craziest research from the PubMed research database and beyond. Because nobody said serious science couldn't be silly!