Explaining Southern California's economy

DeBord Report on 'America Now with Andy Dean,' March 30 edition

Time for my weekly writeup of Friday's business and economy report on "American Now with Andy Dean." Obviously, we couldn't not talk about the Mega Millions lottery, even though we've discussed it before. Evidently, the lotto authorities are still tracking down the winners for the Friday night drawing. The fact remains, of course: These are people who spent $1 — well, OK, maybe they spent hundred or even thousands of dollars on tickets, I have no way of knowing — for a shot at $640 million. Negligible input for a monumental payoff. And a reminder that while the odds are waaayyy against you, as Andy points out, it can be worth it to play the lottery when it gets super-high, jackpot-wise. You're investing in a personal "black swan" event.

Otherwise, we discussed the Dodgers sale, including the masterful — and to some, malevolent — parking-lots side deal that soon-to-be-former owners Frank McCourt worked out. Also some back-and-forth about Goldman Sachs ultra-critic Greg Smith's $1.5 billion book advance, some more discussion of why Apple should buy Research in Motion as RIM's stock price continues to struggle, and to cap it all off, the breaking news that Keith Olberman was fired at Al-Gore owned Current TV.

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Trackback: Mega Millions hits $640 million, Lottomania ensues

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

The odds make no sense. But then again, you could consider playing the lottery a "black swan" investment.

The Mega Millions lottery jackpot is now up to $640 million (the "cash option" is $462 million). That's...$420 million more than than last time I reposted on why you should or shouldn't play the lottery, earlier this month. (And that was $100 million more than the time I wrote the original post.) The nation — at least the parts where you can play Mega Millions — is in a frenzy. "The Patt Morrison Show" did segment today on how to deal with the many millions you'll win if you pull the winning ticket.

Soooo...I'm reposting this for the third time, just in case you're on the fence about buying a ticket for tonight's drawing:

The California lottery's Mega Millions jackpot is up to $100 million [Ed: Man, DeBord, that was chump change!] (Mega-Millions is actually a multi-state lottery, an aggregate of 42 lotteries). That's a pretty nice chunk of change and should bring out many more players, even infrequent ones — and even ones who never play. What we're talking about here are the people who understand the odds against winning. So why would they change their minds, simply because the jackpot has crossed a threshold?

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Trackback: Is the California lottery's $200 million jackpot worth a shot?

Courtesy of the California Lottery

The jackpot for the Mega-Millions jackpot is now $200 million, and there's a drawing on Friday. This probably has lots of folks out there asking themselves, "Should I buy a ticket?" I tackled this question last December, and I haven't changed my thinking. So I'm reposting — and pointing out that the jackpot is TWICE as big now:

The California lottery's Mega Millions jackpot is up to $100 million (Mega-Millions is actually a multi-state lottery, an aggregate of 42 lotteries). That's a pretty nice chunk of change and should bring out many more players, even infrequent ones — and even ones who never play. What we're talking about here are the people who understand the odds against winning. So why would they change their minds, simply because the jackpot has crossed a threshold?

For starters, you have to understand why these folks don't play. The site Strange Loops explains:

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