Does it Pay to Buy the Pot in the Canadian 6/49 Lotto: Implications for Lottery Design

Steven D. Moffitt and Bill Ziemba

The Canadian 6/49 Lotto©, despite its unusual payout structure, is one of the few government sponsored lotteries that has the potential for a favourable strategy we call "buying the pot". By "buying the pot" we mean that a syndicate buys one of each ticket in the lottery, ensuring that it holds a jackpot winner. We assume that the other bettors independently buy small numbers of tickets. This paper presents (1) a formula for the syndicate's expected return, (2) conditions under which buying the pot produces a significant positive expected return, and (3) the implications of these findings for lottery design.

Publication number: 
DP 64