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Here's how to lose at Mega Millions like a real expert
From the Columbus Dispatch, Saturday, May 18, 2002
Joe Blundo
Dispatch Accent Columnist

Ohio has joined Mega Millions, a multistate lottery that offers bigger jackpots than the state's Super Lotto Plus.

Because the game is new, some residents are uncertain how to play. So To Speak presents this guide in an effort to aggravate the confusion:

Welcome. The Ohio Lottery Commission welcomes you to the exciting new multistate game Mega Millions.
Now you can join residents of eight other states in the fun of buying colorful tickets that you will throw away in bitter disappointment two days later.

Odds of winning. Your odds of winning the jackpot are 135 million-to-1, approximately the same as your chances of being struck by lightning while fending off an attack by a two-headed shark that was recently elected prime minister of Tajikistan.
In contrast, the odds of winning the state's Super Lotto Plus jackpot are 13.9 million-to-1 (same scenario, one-headed shark).

Two choices. Option A: Buy Mega Millions tickets at any of the 9,100 Ohio Lottery retailers. Tickets cost $1 each.
Option B: Take a dollar from your wallet and throw it into the nearest storm sewer.

With either option, your odds are about the same.

Financial disclosure. If you choose Option A, your costs for driving 5 miles to a retail outlet and buying one ticket will total approximately $2.60.
If you choose Option B, your costs for throwing a dollar into a storm sewer will total approximately $1.

In a year of weekly play, Option B participants will spend approximately $83.20 less than Option A participants.

The raccoons living in the sewer, meanwhile, will make $52.

The odds of a raccoon spending anything on a Mega Millions ticket are too small to calculate. Raccoons are not that dumb.

Strategy tips. Select five numbers from 1 to 52 plus a sixth Mega Ball number from 1 to 52. These are your Mega Selections, otherwise defined as "losing numbers."
Use any method to pick the numbers. Some players choose based on dreams, street addresses or their children's birthdays.

Before deciding to have children, please consult a physician. The Ohio Lottery will not be responsible for children conceived in an effort to produce lottery numbers.

If you dislike the pressure of choosing, try the Auto Loss option, in which your losing numbers are selected randomly by computer.

If your six numbers match those in the Mega Millions drawing, pinch yourself. You are dreaming.

In the event you are not dreaming, redeem the winning ticket at an Ohio Lottery Commission office, then hold a news conference at which you announce you will not quit your job for a while.

Then quit your job.

Purpose of the game. The mission of Mega Millions is to produce enough Mega Losers to ensure that the few Mega Winners do not drain all the profits.

Mega Millions is designed to entertain Ohioans while preserving the political careers of Gov. Bob Taft and the members of the General Assembly.

All Ohio profits go into an education fund that, when spread equally among the school districts, provides enough money to buy every child an extra chicken nugget in the cafeteria.

If you would like more information on Mega Millions, don't ask. You'll take all the fun out of it.

Joe Blundo is an Accent columnist.

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