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Texas State Lottery Jackpot Now at "Infinity Plus One"
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DALLAS, Texas - State officials are describing the new higher-jackpot/longer-odds combination for the state lottery as "an experiment in perception." Said Robert Nestle of the lottery commission, "We have found that people play more when the jackpots are high. Nothing else matters -- rain, snow, low odds of winning -- the only factor is the money. So we're catering to that." The commission voted unanimously to raise the jackpot to "Infinity Plus One" and lower the odds of winning to zero. "We knew somebody else would come along and try to one-up us, so we tossed the 'plus one' on it. Our marketing people tell us there is plenty to do with that, too," explained Nestle.

"If there's no chance to win then it's simply a tax."
Michael Remsphere, Professor of Mathematics
"The lottery has long been described as a tax on people that are bad at math," remarked professor of mathematics at the University of Texas at Dallas, Michael Remsphere, "But no one is bad enough to miss the fact that zero chances is zero chances. No matter the alleged jackpot, if there's no chance to win then it's simply a tax. I predict the lottery will implode in a few months." While Remsphere's reasoning may be sound, empirical evidence suggests his conclusions are not correct. "Since the announcement about the jackpot, the lines have been out the door and around the corner for the lotto machine," said one convenience store clerk, "One man asked me if 'infinity' was more than a million. When I told him it was, he bought two extra tickets."

"I really don't think we'll win," said an office worker waiting in line to buy thirty tickets for her office pool, "But if everybody else in my office wins, I don't want to be the only one left. So I really don't care what the odds are, I don't want to take the chance."

"After a few months of no winners at all, I think you'll see sales tapering off," said Dick Benson, owner of Lotto City, selling scratch tickets and chances on multiple state lotteries, "And of course, we make a bundle when we sell a ticket that turns out to be a winner. If I can guarantee that I'll never sell a winning Texas ticket, I have to decide if it's worth it to me to even sell them."

Nestle is unmoved by the objections. "If some people decide not to play, then that's their prerogative," he said, "We've always encouraged people not to play with money they can't afford to lose. But all of our research shows that a higher payoff leads to higher ticket sales. If that's proven wrong, we'll give it another look. And it's not like we're not open to the possibility of doubling or even tripling the current payoff."
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