Lottery Simulator is satire. Here’s why.

Lottery Simulator, as if you couldn’t tell by the tongue-in-cheek comment at the end of the sales description, is satire. I didn’t make it immediately obvious at first, but when the views started dropping, I thought I might as well yank the curtains back and reveal the secret.

Truth is, while it’s little more than a tech demo, I started thinking “This could be used as a satire to warn people about the lottery being astronomically hard to profit off.” and that’s what I went and did. Through an unintentional bug that I actually tried to work around (TIC-80 didn’t like it), I was able to hold down the two buttons that make the simulator work and simulate a total of 23,658 lotteries. While I don’t have stats on individual prizes, I have a cash total of $5,360, which doesn’t include ticket costs nor daily stipends, as they’re just text.

You start with $1, so when you buy 23,658 tickets, you spend $23,658 and win $5,359 causing a net loss of $18,299. So you basically could have bought a small car with all that money. And to think, everyone says the lottery is a quick way to get right. This is a crystal clear case of survivorship bias, a Wikipedia article on which is available at the bottom of this post.

All in all, the lottery is a losing proposition, as you could spend a whole lot of money to win only 20% of it back. If a company spent 80% more than it made in revenue, would it survive? Of course not, and it’s the same with normal, everyday people.

Still, a lot of people will say the lottery is meant as a thrill seeking enterprise, and I won’t deny that it causes excitement. What I’m saying is that it needs to be done responsibly and in moderation.

And if you are reading this and are, like me a resident of the Australian state of Victoria yet, unlike me you think you have a gambling problem, please call the 24/7 Gambler’s Help Hotline on 1800 858 858. You will make your friends and family a lot happier and as they say… the first step to fixing a problem is admitting there is one.

As promised, here is the article on Survivorship bias. It’s a bit wordy and scientific, but it’s still a good read.



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