Fox News To Viewers: Key To Winning Jackpot Is Buying As Many Lottery Tickets As You Can Afford

The same group of people who believed Fox when the network was telling them President Obama was a Kenyan are now rushing to drain their bank accounts for lottery tickets after some characteristically stupid financial advice on Fox and Friends.

While Fox was covering the record-breaking $1.4 billion lottery jackpot that has the entire country seeing dollar signs, one of their resident “experts” decided he would share his winning strategy: Spend all of your money on tickets to maximize your chances of winning.

At first blush, Fox’s expert, Richard Lustig, does sound like he knows what he’s talking about. He’s won the lottery seven times (at various amounts). His tips, however, are painfully bad. After saying there is no “magic wand” to help a person win the lottery, Lustig says there is one exception: Buy as many tickets as you can afford.

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In case you needed a reality check, draining your bank account on the off-chance that you win $1.4 billion in the Powerball is not a good idea. While the large pile of cash may seem enticing, the odds that you – specifically you – will be the one who wins it are vanishingly small. (The actual number is around 1 in 292 million.) Buying more tickets only increases your chances by a very small fraction. In all likelihood, you’ll simply pay more to still lose.

And the Powerball is this large for a reason: the lotto recently became much harder to win. This is no longer the game Lustig used to play, the Powerball has become a bigger mirage than ever. As ThinkProgress explains:

In October, the consortium of states that runs Powerball approved a series of rule changed thatmade it much harder to win the jackpot. Under the new rules you select five of 69 numbers, up from five out of 59 numbers. The choices for the Powerball was actually reduced from 35 to 26. Still, this decreased the odds of winning the jackpot from 1 in 175 million to 1 in 292 million.

Why would the Powerball do this? Because huge jackpots create a media frenzy that, in turns, gets more people to scramble for lottery tickets. It’s a profit-making scheme and it is working.

Making matters worse for our hapless Fox News viewers, bigger pots don’t make it a better deal for the average lotto player. Mathematicians have worked out that the pot would need to be vastly bigger (about 2.6 billion dollars) to make buying a lottery ticket even worth it statistically.

Yikes.

The hysteria surrounding the massive powerball jackpot is understandable (who wouldn’t want to become an overnight billionaire?), but a respectable news outlet wouldn’t run around telling its demonstrably gullible viewers that bankrupting themselves is the best way to become rich. Fox News, yet again, proves that they are much more comfortable operating as a 24-hour swindle operation rather than a responsible media giant with its audience’s best interests at heart.

Feature image via Media Matters