Professor puts chances of winning $235 million Powerball jackpot into perspective

Professor Cornelius Nelan

Professor Cornelius Nelan

The Powerball jackpot is $235 million, but what are the odds of actually winning?

Cornelius Nelan, professor of mathematics in the College of Arts and Sciences at Quinnipiac University, is available to discuss Powerball jackpot odds.

Nelan provides some context about the odds of the Powerball lottery: “The game consists of picking five balls from a vat of 59 balls (5,006,386 ways to do this) and then one ball (the Powerball) from a vat of 35 balls to make a total of 175,223,510 possible combinations, so you have a one in 175,223,510 chance of winning the big prize, if you buy one ticket. There are eight other ways to win. If you get the five numbers without the powerball, (one in 5,006,386 chance of doing this) you win $1,000,000. If you get the Powerball, but none of the other balls (one in 35 chance of doing this), you win $4. Overall, there is a one in 31.85 chance of winning some prize. Tickets cost $2, which affects the statistic called expected value, essentially the government will take in far more than it will pay out.”

To arrange an interview with Nelan, please contact John Morgan, associate vice president for public relations, at 203-582-5359 (office) or 203-206-4449 (cell).



Categories: College of Arts and Sciences, community and service, hot topics, insight, news

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